Though the weather has yet to fully transition to summer here in LA, my palette has already shifted towards warm-weather meals – and this little gem salad recipe with grilled veggies, white beans, and pesto makes me feel like it’s 80 degrees and sunny even when May Gray is in full effect.
I made this salad on a whim one afternoon when I had a bunch of basil and veggies from the farmer’s market that needed to be used, and the result far exceeded my expectations. From the crisp little gem leaves, to the charred veggies, to the garlicky, zesty pesto contrasted by the briny sweetness of the balsamic glaze, this is anything but a *sad salad.*
The star of this dish, though, is my easy vegan pesto – it is, without a doubt, the most delicious pesto sauce you’ll ever make (and it takes about 5 minutes with a food processor or blender)! The hemp seeds are what pack this pesto with a superfood punch, bringing a hearty dose of omega fatty acids, protein, and fiber to the equation (in addition to a slew of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium, to name a few)! That said, you could also swap the hemp seeds for pistachios, sunflower seeds, or even good old pine nuts, which are used in traditional pesto.
This is the absolute best little gem salad recipe to make for your next gathering, random weekday lunch, or just anytime you have a hankering for bright summer flavors in the form of an equally delicious and nutritious salad.
If you’re in the market for some more tasty vegan recipes, be sure to check out this easy vegan quiche recipe (great for mother’s day coming up!) or my plant-based take on the famed Jon + Vinny’s spicy fusilli.