Oil Free Vegan Pesto Rice! It’s that time of year for pesto everything, and we say bring it on!
Vibrant, wholesome, and bursting with herbaceous flavors, this Oil Free Vegan Pesto Rice is a simple side that brings summertime vibes to any meal. It’s easy to make, healthy, and a great alternative to jazz up regular rice. A great summer side dish that is sure to wow the family.
Whole Food Plant Based, Vegan, plant based, oil free, refined sugar free, no highly processed ingredients and gluten free.
Hi there, Ameera here!
We gobbled this rice down in a flash. It’s just so yummy and brimming with basil goodness. Plus, the eugenol in basil can block calcium channels, which may help lower blood pressure. It also contains magnesium which can improve blood flow by allowing muscles and blood vessels to relax.
You gotta give this one a try!
Tips for Success:
- Flavor Profile: Pesto is typically made with fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. This healthy oil-free Whole Food Plant Based pesto version tastes fantastic. If you are not a fan of fresh basil, then perhaps this recipe is not for you.
- Texture: The pesto sauce really coats the rice nicely. This rice dish is similar to a risotto.
- Refrigerated Rice: It is important to use rice that has been cooked and cooled in the refrigerator. Rice made earlier in the day or the day before works perfectly. Using freshly made rice will result in gummy rice.
- Heating: This recipe is a pesto sauce mixed into refrigerated rice. You have multiple ways of heating it. You could gently heat it on the stove top until heated through. You can also heat individual servings in the microwave (this is what we did). You can also place it in a casserole dish and heat at 350 F for approximately 15 to 20 minutes until heated through (we tested this as well).
- Soaking Nuts is Not Required but is Recommended: There is no need to soak the pine nuts or almonds in water before placing in the high-speed blender. Pesto is typically not a super smooth type of sauce. It typically has a very tiny bit of texture, but you should not be chomping on nuts. We placed instructions to soak the pine nuts and almonds because we wanted a smooth texture for this pesto rice, but we specifically wanted a smooth texture.
- Nut Substitutions: We really don’t have any great substitutions to offer for replacing the nuts. You can, however, use all of one nut instead of two.
- Fresh Basil: Pesto recipes use fresh basil. We don’t recommend using dry basil.
- Amount of Sea Salt: Our family was completely divided over the amount of sea salt needed to season this pesto rice. We ultimately landed on one teaspoon.
Leftovers and Freezing:
Leftovers will generally keep 3 days in the refrigerator. Store in a covered container.
This dish can be frozen.
- Rice: We used Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain Brown Rice for this dish. Feel free to use your favorite.
- High speed blender
Vibrant, wholesome, and bursting with herbaceous flavors, this Oil Free Vegan Pesto Rice is a simple side that brings summertime vibes to any meal.
- 4 to 4 ½ cups cooked and refrigerated rice (of choice) *
Pesto Sauce Ingredients:
- 3 to 3 ½ cups (packed) fresh basil (2 oz.)
- ½ cup pine nuts *
- ½ cup blanched almond slivers *
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons water
- ¼ cup + 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt (+/-) *
- Place the pine nuts and blanched slivered almonds into a small bowl, cover with boiling water. Allow to soak for 10 minutes, then discard the water and place the pine nuts and slivered almonds into a high-speed blender.
- Place the all the remaining Sauce Ingredients into a high-speed blender with the soaked nuts, blend on high until smooth and emulsified, about 1 to 2 minutes. You may need to use the tamper tool at first to get everything moving. Scrape down the sides about halfway.
- Place the cooked and refrigerated rice into a large bowl, pour the pesto sauce over the rice and mix thoroughly to coat the rice.
- Heat the pesto rice as individual servings in the microwave, or heat in a stockpot until heated through, or place in a casserole dish at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes until heated through. All methods of heating work very well.
- Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley or a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh tomatoes.
*Please reference the blog post for Tips for Success, Pantry Items Used, Storage and Freezing, and Kitchen Products Used.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.
*Servings: Makes 5 1/2 cups
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