My pesto obsession continues with this recipe for Dandelion Pesto. It’s still as easy as ever to make, but this version has dandelion greens, parsley, and lime. With the addition of cashews and nutritional yeast, this spread is nutrient dense, loaded with fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. Just about any sandwich, salad, pasta, or tofu will be tastier with a spoonful of Dandelion Pesto.
Last weekend we took a whirlwind trip to Green Bay to celebrate Veronica and Clarissa’s sixth birthday with my family. We left town after 3:00 on Friday afternoon (right from the zoo following the girls’ class field trip) and drove to Wisconsin. Saturday was playing, cupcakes, and so many presents (my family is incredibly generous and we are so grateful). Sunday we went to church, then immediately started the long drive back to Columbus. It was a lot of driving in a short time, but worth it for our girls to have a terrific birthday party with family. Plus Dorothy finally got to meet Auntie Margaret, Auntie Karen, and Cousin Hannah! Woohoo!
As you can imagine, it’s not always easy to eat vegan on the road. Restaurants with vegan options aren’t readily available on the drive through Indiana and Illinois. After almost two years of frequent travel between Ohio and Wisconsin, with hungry kids in the car, I’ve got a pretty good handle on how to prepare to fill bellies without just feeding them junk.
I like sandwiches for road trip eating. Something as simple as peanut butter or sunflower butter on whole grain bread is a good start (we had both on Friday). If I have more time to prepare the sandwiches (and the ingredients on hand), I like to make Tofurky sandwiches. Whole grain bread, Tofurky, Daiya (or other vegan cheese), tomato, and lettuce makes for a pretty well balanced meal that can be eaten in the car. Spread on some pesto for a flavor boost and a bit more nutrition (especially if it’s Dandelion Pesto). On Sunday I didn’t have time to make sandwiches. My mom had Tofurky and Daiya on hand. We threw the packages in the cooler and added them to Subway sandwiches that we grabbed during a stop for gas. The vegan substitutes add great flavor and some protein to the veg-filled sandwiches.
I always try to load the cooler and car with a variety of snacks. On Friday we gobbled up carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and grape tomatoes with the rest of the pesto we had with us. Clarissa and Veronica adore dried fruit, which is readily available at most grocery stores. This time they had apple rings, pineapple, cranberries, figs, and prunes. Trader Joe’s has dried apples and pineapple with no sugar added and my kiddos can’t get enough of them. Or grab freeze dried fruits (find them at Target or TJ’s), which are intense in flavor as well as fiber and vitamin C, but are crispy like chips. We ate Tangy Herb Snack Crackers, homemade granola bars (a new recipe I’ll be sharing soon), seaweed snacks, and cut up cantaloupe. If you want the convenience of stopping at a fast-food joint, check out this VegNews list of vegan fast-food options.
I’ll rely on these snack ideas a whole lot this summer, when we go on travel adventures as a family of five. I’m sure many iterations of pesto will spice up our sandwiches and brighten up our road trip crudite, but I’m hopeful this Dandelion Pesto will be the most frequent version we enjoy. It’s just too good to pass up.
- 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 6 cups (lightly packed) roughly chopped dandelion greens
- 1 cup (lightly packed) flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1. Pulse the cashews and garlic in a food processor, until finely chopped.
- 2. Add the dandelion greens and parsley to the processor in batches, pulsing until it breaks down. Drizzle in the lime juice, olive oil, and water as needed to help the greens break down.
- 3. Add the nutritional yeast and salt. Process until the mixture is very finely chopped. Add more water as necessary to achieve desired texture (thinner for a pasta sauce, thicker for a sandwich spread).
- 4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- 5. Store refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to four or five days.