You may have seen on Facebook or Instagram that Eric and I are in the middle of a kitchen
nightmare renovation. Last week, I felt like we were on an especially bad episode of Renovation Realities. One thing after another went wrong. I won’t go into too much detail since I’m planning to share more about our renovation this week, but the important thing to know here is that we were without a working kitchen most of last week. For people that like to cook as much as we do, it really sucked not to have a working stove or oven and no counter space to even prep something to make in the slow cooker.
Needless to say, we haven’t been cooking, well, at all. I had the pumpkin seeds for this recipe in the oven almost as soon as we put it back in place yesterday. Of course, thinking the renovation would be done, I had planned on spending the weekend baking in our newly renovated kitchen. That didn’t happen, but I still managed to make this pesto for our neighborhood block party. I had a bag of pumpkin seeds at home (leftover from a dessert that you’ll see this week on Simple Bites), and this recipe seemed like the perfect way to use them. It’s incredibly simple and tastes amazing spread on a slice of baguette. I’m totally trying it in place of the basil pesto I use in my goat cheese terrine next time I make it. The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s nut-free, dairy-free and vegan, so it’s suitable for all kinds of diets.
Because I’ve gotten several reader questions about using a blender instead of a food processor, I decided to test out this recipe in my new blender. I’ve been making smoothies and icy drinks in it since September, and it does a fantastic job with those (I accidentally pulverized ice the first time because the blender works so well. Oops!). That may seem like no big deal, but I had to add a lot of liquid to my last blender in order to make it blend anything, so not having to make my smoothies runny makes me very happy. This recipe has two cups of pumpkin seeds, and I figured it would be the ultimate test for my blender. I’m happy to report that I made this pesto in it without any problems. I had to stop and stir it a couple times, but I usually stop and scrape down my food processor bowl too.
Special thanks to KitchenAid for sending me this blender to try out. I opted for the silver one, but it comes in a rainbow of pretty colors. As always, all opinions expressed here are purely my own, and I was not compensated for this post.
- COOK TIME:
- YIELD: about 2½ cups
2 cups raw, hulled unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup cilantro
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 375º. Toss the pumpkin seeds with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and roasted. Set aside to cool completely. (Do NOT try to make this while the seeds are still warm because the pesto will turn gummy. Ask me how I know.)
In the bowl of a food processor or pitcher of a blender, combine the cooled pumpkin seeds and remaining ingredients. Pulse to combine, stirring and scraping down the bowl as needed. Continue pulsing until a coarse paste forms. Add additional olive oil as needed to reach your desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with warm baguette slices and store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator.