Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sweet Tomato and Tarragon Pesto

Over the weekend I decided to make flax crackers which I have not made in months. The reason I stopped making them was while they are packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids they are also very calorie dense. However this weekend I thought I would try an experiment and see if I could make them lower in fat and calories.

I started by grinding 1 cup of golden flaxseeds in the Vitamix. If you don’t have a high speed blender that you can use a coffee grinder which is how I grind a tablespoon or two of seeds. Place the flaxseeds into a mixing bowl. Next I added 1 cup of dry oats to the flaxseeds. Now add water slowly while you stir the dry ingredients. Continue to add water until you have workable dough. Season the crackers any way you like. I added garlic powder, dried onions, black pepper, paprika, and lemon zest.

I spread half the mixture on one teflex covered tray in the dehydrator and did the same thing with the second half of the cracker dough. Turn the machine to somewhere between 105 and 115 degrees and dry until they are firm on top. Then flip the dough, cut it into cracker sizes (I used 9ths) and then turn them over (so the damp side is up) and continue to dry until all the moisture is gone. I store them in a zip top bag at room temperature until I want one.

Since I made the flax and oat crackers over the weekend I wanted something light to top them with. After all flax crackers are delicious and nutrition but low fat they aren’t. I decided that tomato pesto was the way to go and here is what I did:

Sweet Tomato and Tarragon Pesto
Makes 16 servings


1 cup dehydrated tomatoes (or sun-dried not in oil)
enough filtered water to cover the tomatoes
1 cup golden raisins
1 large clove garlic
½ cup fresh tarragon (you could use basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano but all in different quantities just add a little taste and adjust)
freshly ground black pepper to taste


lemon zest
lemon juice or wine vinegar
finely diced red onion


Cover the tomatoes with water and store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, I let them soak overnight. Drain the tomatoes from the water reserving the water. Place the tomatoes in your food processor, add the raisins, and garlic and process. Drizzle in the reserved tomato soaking liquid until you like the texture. You may need to scrape the sides of the processor once or twice. Add the fresh herbs a little at a time until you like the flavor. Add freshly ground pepper to taste and store covered in the refrigerator until needed.

If you want to change the flavor you can add some lemon zest, lemon juice or wine vinegar.

Nutritional Information (assumes 1/16th of the recipe or about 2 tablespoons depending on how much water you add):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 36.74
Calories From Fat (3%) - 1.28

Total Fat - 0.15g
Saturated Fat - 0.03g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 72.34mg
Potassium - 188.49mg
Total Carbohydrates - 9.21g
Fiber - 0.81g
Sugar - 6.64g
Protein - 0.84g


This is one of those recipes that you can use many different ways. It is good as a spread on a cracker. It works spread on a pizza and topped with veggies. Try it tossed with pasta or roasted potatoes. You can use it as a salad dressing. As you can see it is versatile.

Other than my snack of these two items my food was fairly boring today. The weather was spectacular today with highs in the upper 80’s but low humidity. I took the opportunity to go for a nice walk through the neighborhood so I could soak up the sun, smell the wisteria and enjoy the fresh air.

I had a green smoothie which I am sure no one is surprised to see given that we have kale in the refrigerator.

There was also my usual orange and two Brazil nuts.

I was feeling rather lazy today and not much like cooking so I grabbed a package of seaweed snacks. If you haven’t tried these both Dan and I enjoy them though many of our omnivore friends are less than enamored by the taste.

There was also a glass of fresh vegetable and fruit juice (beet, collard, celery, kale, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger).

Dinner was another variation of my deconstructed sushi salad but this time I made it was black rice but without miso.

I guess with the weather getting nicer I am not much in the mood to cook. Hopefully I get back into that soon. LOL

Happy thoughts:

• Our weather today was glorious. It was just hot enough but not too hot. I loved that the humidity was low so that I could keep the windows open. Even the felines enjoyed the fresh air coming through the windows all day. Days like this are so nice because we have had a very wet, rainy spring.

• I had a little time to read today, not as much as I have lately. But that is mostly due to the time I spent outside so I am not complaining. I wasn’t as “productive” as usual but I was happy and really that is all the mattered to me today.

• It looks like I will be getting time to spend with my hubby later this week. I should know for sure tomorrow. *fingers crossed* Can you tell I am looking forward to it? ;-)

• While Dan worked late again this evening he did find time for a walk before dinner and that made me very happy. I like him to remain active to keep his immune system ramped up. Working behind a desk all day long I worry that he doesn’t get enough activity. However he has been good about this for a while for that I am grateful.

• I am still enjoying “The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse”. I think this is going to be something that I do multiple times per year. It is helping me to reframe the way I see the world and is having a positive impact on my attitude. Who couldn’t use a little more positivity in their life?

• I am also grateful that Jackie’s cat came through his surgery fine today. It is always difficult to have the fur children at the vet. Thank goodness Jackie noticed that he wasn’t acting right and got him to the doctor before it was serious.

• Next week we are going to see Ottmar Liebert with Jackie and Walid and that is going to be great. I am really looking forward to that. I am fortunate to have a number of things to look forward to this month. Maybe that will soften the blow of my turning 49 soon. *shivers* When did I get old? I swear I still feel like I a kid mentally but that means this whole old thing is just no fun an confusing. ;-)

Signing out:

Like usual I am getting this post up much later than I had expected. You know I am going to blame that on Dan working late right? To be honest it isn’t his fault completely though it is a contributing factor. I hope he can get a break soon so that he can get a little rest. I really don’t like that he works as hard as he does.

I hope your weather was a beautiful as ours today. We had a magnificent day from a weather perspective. I will leave you with a few pictures that I took of my azaleas this afternoon with my cell phone. The flowers took a bit of a beating in the rain the other day, but they are still colorful.

Don't forget to comment here for a chance to win a copy of "The 21-Day Vegan Weight Loss Kickstart" signed by Dr. Barnard.

Talk to you again tomorrow. I hope you enjoy what is left of you evening. Good night!


  1. Tomato pesto looks delicious! I'm going to try soon;)

  2. This is the second time I've spotted a deconstructed sushi salad! It's fate - I must try it! Yours looked super delish. :)

  3. Simona,

    The pesto is based on something that Ian makes that Dan loves. Of course Ian's version uses white and olive oil. But I like mine because it is "cleaner" if you know what I mean. ;-)

    I hope you enjoy it as much as we do,

  4. Happy Go Lucky Vegan,

    I have been making deconstructed sushi salad for about a year and it is one of my favorites. It is perfect when you have cold leftover rice. Last night I was talking to my Japanese friend and she told me they do this is Japan so it isn't actually a new idea.

    I hope you enjoy it,


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