Pesto 2 Ways (dairy free)

By popular demand because it’s so tasty, Karen offers her pesto recipe below. Years ago we replaced Romano cheese with hemp hearts in our pesto and thought they were fantastic, so much so that we never looked back.

The nutritional yeast is a recent addition. When we prepared our daughter Lora’s pesto, we discovered its delicious taste along with outstanding nutritional value. We’ve begun adding it every time.

Lora also prepares a delicious dairy free pesto. The traditional pine nut is her favorite, but she often prepares a blend of half walnuts and half pine nuts. When she recently embarked on a nut free diet, she altered the recipe as you’ll see below. This is the recipe in the pictures.

Karen’s Pesto (Dairy Free)

4 oz basil. This recipe was made with hydroponic basil which adds a sweetness. We also like Italian basil and, well, every kind of basil.
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup raw organic cashews; our favorite nut, but we’ve tried many and like them all
1/3 cup organic olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 or more teaspoon nutritional yeast. It adds a wonderful “cheezy” flavor.

Blend hemp hearts in food processor. Add and blend the cashews with the hemp. Lastly, add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

basil leaves

The fresh hydroponic basil adds a tasty sweetness.

Pesto ingredients

All the ingredients in Karen’s dairy free pesto.

Finished pesto - delicious!

Finished pesto – delicious!


Lora’s Pesto (Diary Free and a Nut Free Option)

4 oz basil
1/2 cup organic olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup pine nuts; Lora’s favorite nut, but she often blends with 1/2 walnuts or almonds
1 TB nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper
For a dairy free and nut free pesto, replace the pine nuts with half sunflower seeds and half hemp hearts.

Blend the garlic and nuts/seeds in food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

Fresh basil

Start with fresh Italian basil.

Nut and dairy free pesto ingredients

All the ingredients you need for a nut and dairy free pesto.

Pesto is ready!

Pesto is ready! Enjoy!

Mock Tabouli Salad (gluten free)

This recipe serves 8 large servings. Adjust proportions to the amount you wish to make. Karen and I eat this for 4 consecutive days (8 servings). It’s amazing how fresh the marinade keeps the salad for this period of time. Store covered in refrigerator.

All ingredients organic.


1.5 lbs. organic curly parsley
1.5 lbs. organic cilantro

1 ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon
1 ½ cup olive oil.
1/3 cup gluten free tamari (San-J)

3 cups water
1 ½ cups brown rice

Add-Ins (Optional)
Fresh chopped scallions (green onions)
Fresh vegetables (celery, red pepper, carrots, etc.)

To make the rice:

Rinse the rice in a fine strainer. Place the rice and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil and turn heat to low and simmer until soft (40 – 45 minutes). After cooking I put a lid on the pot of hot brown rice and allow it to sit for another hour. This enhances the tenderness of the rice.

To make the marinade:

Add all three marinade items together and whisk thoroughly and repeatedly. After cooked rice has been sitting for an hour or longer (covered) add to above marinade. Stir with spoon periodically to keep mixing rice with marinade. Initially the rice will have an inch of liquid on top, but after several hours the rice will completely absorb the marinade.

Making the marinade

After 4-5 hours the rice will completely absorb the marinade.

Wash parsley thoroughly by soaking in water in the sink and gently stirring with hands. Rinse and wash again if necessary. Don’t be surprised if significant amounts of “mud” and grit are removed. Then wash cilantro the same way.

Next dry the parsley & cilantro thoroughly. I allow gravity to remove as much water by placing produce in strainers.

Straining the parsley and cilantro

After this I spread produce on clean towels to remove even more water by allowing it to sit for hours or as long as necessary.


A vegetable spinner is another option. It’s important to have relatively dry produce before adding the brown rice marinade.

After parsley & cilantro are dry, use a large sharp knife to “shave” it into small pieces. I take one item at a time (parsley or cilantro). Use one hand to compress into a ‘brick’ and shave it with the other hand, using a sharp knife. Or, you can use a food processor but try to avoid bruising.

Cutting the parsley and cilantro

Use one hand to compress into a ‘brick’ and shave it with the other hand, using a sharp knife.

Place chopped produce in a large bowl, mix and fluff and then add brown rice marinade. Use your hands to thoroughly mix all ingredients.

Adding the marinade

Mix thoroughly

Add marinade and mix thoroughly

At this time you can add anything you wish. I like to add 1 chopped apple and 1 cup organic Sultana Raisins. Mix thoroughly.

Each time this is served I add or put on the side the following: fresh chopped scallions (green onions), celery, red pepper and carrots. But add anything you wish or just enjoy the base salad as is. Sprouts are an excellent addition.

Serve as is or add a protein – vegetarian or otherwise: hummus, eggs, wild fish, meat, poultry, cheese, tempeh (I like tempeh sautéed with mushrooms), or anything you wish. Nuts are another nice addition.

Consider adding additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cider or rice vinegar, and additional gluten free tamari…or whatever you like.

Jim Ehmke's Tabouli Salad

Kale with Wild Rice Salad (gluten free)

My favorite kale is Lacinato for it’s delicate flavor and texture. If it’s available, I choose it for my salad. I also like all the black kales and use them as a base, sometimes adding red or green kales in smaller amounts. Store covered in refrigerator.

All organic ingredients are encouraged.


3 – 3½ pounds organic raw kale
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cups olive oil
2 tablespoons gluten free tamari (San-J)
1 cup Sultana or other raisins, or to taste

Wild Rice:
3 cups water
1 cup wild rice
pinch sea salt

Add-Ins (get creative and choose a few of your favorites)
A few handfuls of organic raw vegetables (carrots, green onion, red pepper, celery, etc.)
Raw nuts or seeds

To make the rice:

I cook the rice while I’m washing the kale so it’s cool by the time I prepare my salad.

Rinse the wild rice in a fine strainer. Boil the water and sea salt in a medium pot and add the wild rice. Bring to a boil again and reduce heat to medium low or low. Simmer for about 45 minutes and when the mixture is almost cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit to finish cooking. Let the rice cool down on the stove for several hours or more.

While the rice is cooking, divide the kale into 2 or 3 quantities for washing. If there are leaves of poor quality or infested, discard them at this time. Place a quantity of kale in the sink and fill the sink with water. Swirl the kale in the water with your hands and drain. Do this two or more times until most of the dirt has been removed. Then wash each leaf directly under running water and place in a strainer or drainer while you wash the rest. Then, take a small group of leaves in your hand and gently shake them back and forth against the sides of your sink to release water.

Release water from kale

Gently shake the kale leaves back and forth against the sides of your sink to release water.

By doing this, you’ll be able to air dry the kale. Just lay each kale leaf out on towels and let them dry for about 2 hours.

Check out all the kale drying in my kitchen!

That’s a lot of kale!

Remove the stems/veins from the kale by cutting or by hand. Over time I found it easier and faster to use my hands to pull the kale from the stems. I cut the large leaves lengthwise if needed. Then, I pile the kale as high as possible to save time as I cut it into pieces. If some of the kale is still wet, you can cut it anyway. It will finish drying in the large bowl of cut kale.

Cutting the kale

In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and tamari. Add this salad dressing mixture, wild rice and raisins to the bowl of cut kale and mix it by hand or with utensils. Massage the kale vigorously by hand if you want to eat it that day. The same process will occur without massaging if you refrigerate your bowl overnight (covered), as I like to do.

Massage the kale or refrigerate overnight

Each time you’re ready to eat your salad, wash and cut raw vegetables to add directly to the salad or keep in sticks to eat separately. Here are some of our favorites:

Organic green onion, carrots, celery and red pepper are an excellent compliment to the kale salad

The salad is ready to eat as is or with added olive oil, coconut oil, vinegar or other dressings you might choose. We often add raw items such as avocado, raw nuts and seeds, etc. When it comes to cooked items, we often add hummus, cheeses or roasted nuts or seeds. This salad is delicious with salmon, eggs and many dishes you may choose. To emphasize the raw, think of the salad as the main dish and whatever you serve it with as the side dish.



Karen Ehmke's Kale with Wild Rice Salad