Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crostini with Vegan Pesto and Cannellini Spread

My basil plants are growing like weeds. Pretty, aromatic weeds that is. So, time for pesto! To accompany the pesto, I baked some crostini and made a cannellini spread. I call this "wine bar at home" food, like the small plates you might enjoy while out for a cocktail. If it's too hot to crank on the oven, use endive leaves as dippers and fresh bread.

2 cups fresh basil, packed
3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste
extra oil to float on top stored pesto to retain color

Combine basil through nutritional yeast in food processor until it forms a coarse paste. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil and pulse until combined. Stir in salt to taste. Before storing in the refrigerator in a covered container, pour a little extra oil on top to retain color.

1 vegan baguette, sliced on a slight diagonal into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil. Place on baking sheet. Bake for about 9 minutes, then turn slices over and bake about 9 more minutes until lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack. These will store in a covered container in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks (I guess. Who can keep them around that long?) Best eaten at room temp.

Cannellini Spread
3 cloves garlic
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (did I really use that much oil? Next time I'll try 1-2 Tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste

Pan roast the garlic cloves by removing outer paper skins; don't peel. Put them in a skillet over medium heat and cover. Shake occasionally. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Let cool then peel.
Combine all ingredients in food processor until smooth.


  1. This does seem like something you'd have when out for a drink at a nice place.

    I'm loving the sound of that cannellini spread, it sounds and looks amazing.

    I was really hoping for some basil from our CSA this year, so I could try my hand at making pesto. We've yet to get any. Think it's too late to start trying to grow my own?

  2. Oh boy, another great idea! That looks so good! :-)

  3. For me, this kind of food transforms your home into the best restaurant of the city! I'll have a red wine with it, waiter :-)

  4. I love white bean spreads! But I'd never have thought to spread the beans over pesto. Yum!!! I can't wait until I get more some basil plants. I only have one right now, and it's not enough for pesto.

  5. Jessy, thanks! They were so tasty too. Must have been that EVOO!

    Jennifer, I'm still seeing basil plants around here, so you'd do fine if you can find some where you are. I DON'T have a green thumb, but my basil grows like crazy in full sun with little attention except for watering and snipping back the flowers. So worthwhile compared to the prices in the supermarket.

    Thanks Chow Vegan!

    Alice, that's how I feel. Somehow a simple dish like crostini and dip seems slightly sophisticated. And red wine is always a plus.

    Bianca, this turned out to be such a great combo! We really loved it. I have two basil plants this year and that seems to meet my pesto needs.

  6. Sounds super yummy! I bought some fabulous basil at the farmer's market and am making pesto pizza for dinner, mmmmm.

  7. Erin, pesto sounds like a great topping for pizza!

  8. What gorgeous pictures, Lisa. Everything looks so delicious. I don't use cannelloni beans enough; I must try this spread.

  9. Thank you Nupur! I was glad to find another use for leftover local Little Pleasures seasoning. This did the trick!

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