Vegan, Nut Free Pesto

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April in the Chewonki kitchen brings with it Summer Camp planning, full speed ahead. As we look ahead to Maine Coast Semesters final weeks on campus we are already planning camp menus, coming up with new ways to use the bounty of produce that will make its way to us from Salt Marsh Farm, and getting the Center for Environmental Education (CEE) kitchen ready for us to cook for East Side campers. There is a lot of energy that is coming along with all of this planning because we are excited to welcome campers and camp staff. It will be here before we know it!

So, what is on the menu for Camp Chewonki 2022? We will have your favorites like barbecued chicken and corn on the cob, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sloppy Joes, along with some foods that may be new to campers, like butternut mac n’ cheese or curried pickles from our farm. Our goal is to provide a balance of foods that feel familiar and those that may challenge campers to step outside of their food comfort zone just a bit.

One thing that campers will certainly see is pesto. Last year the farm had so much basil to harvest that we had large groups of folks in the dining room stripping basil stems. It smelled amazing and yielded a bounty of pesto. Since we are cooking for all types of people, many with dietary restrictions such as lactose intolerance or those who are dairy free or allergic to nuts, we have come up with a vegan, nut free pesto that we feel rivals the original. We hope you’ll give it a try and we can’t wait to see campers soon!

~ Susan and the Kitchen Team

Vegan, Nut Free Pesto

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup toasted and cooled pumpkin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic
    1/4 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup or more olive oil

Combine everything in a food processor and puree until the pesto is very fine. If it is too thick, add a bit more olive oil. You are looking for it to be a pourable consistency. Check for salt and pepper and nutritional yeast. The yeast gives a great nutty, cheesy flavor and is also a great source of protein and B vitamins.

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