Happy & Fructose Free

Spreading Hope for Anyone Affected by Fructose Malabsorption

Fructose Friendly Crowd Pleasers: Pesto

on July 14, 2012

I’m two months into this new fructose malabsorption lifestyle, and even though it gets easier every day, I still find myself craving marinara sauce… a lot. Then one day it dawned on me. The only way to satisfy my cravings for Italian food is to tackle another Mediterranean staple… Pesto.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Garlic and Parsley and Pine Nuts, oh my!”

That is true to some degree. In its traditional form, pesto is a fructose malabsorber’s nightmare, but the beauty of this sauce is that is perfectly adaptable for nearly anybody’s dietary and budgetary needs.

The Challenge: Pesto Sauce

Pesto lovers everywhere have lamented over the price of pine nuts forever (those itty bitty things are EXPENSIVE). Because of this fact there are many recipes available that have been adapted for other nuts like walnuts, or our very favorite green nut… Pistachios!  Hooray for pistachios! They can even be purchased in bulk without shells for easier cooking.

Pesto Solution #1: De-shelled Pistachios.

Parsley, being cheap and around every corner, always finds its way into pesto recipes, but it is full of fructose so be strong.  We have an excellent and equally accessible replacement with significantly less fructose… Spinach!  Add a little dried basil and oregano and you won’t even miss that other herb.

Pesto Solutions #2 & 3: Fresh Spinach & Dried Herbs.

Now let’s talk about garlic, our delicious enemy. It is absolutely ubiquitous in virtually every culture’s cuisine, and integrated to the point that there’s no escaping it… or can we?

Yes, there is an option.  But what boggles my fructose-intolerant-brain every day is how the product of garlic and onion could be our main replacement for both of them.

Pesto Solution #4: Shallots

Now that we are armed & dangerous… Let’s begin 🙂

Lindsey’s Fructose Friendly Pesto Sauce

Base Ingredients: (makes approx. 1-1/2 cups)

  • 2/3 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup de-shelled pistachios
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper, or to taste

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. – 2 tsp. of chopped shallots, depending on tolerance.  Adds a slight punch of flavor that makes this pesto feel more traditional.
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese with 1/4 cup water.  If you can handle some dairy, the flavor and texture of the Parmesan is very satisfying, however it does thicken the sauce quite a bit.  The additional water puts it right back where it was.
  • 1/4 tsp. – 1/2 tsp. each salt & a sweetener (sucrose, dextrose, etc.).  This adds a lot of depth to the flavor.

Directions:

  1. In blender or food processor, add spinach, olive oil and water and mix until the spinach is evenly broken down.  It will appear loose at this point.
  2. Add the pistachios, basil, oregano, black pepper, and any optional ingredients.  Blend until the mixture is uniform.

Now you have a fructose friendly pesto sauce.  Now what?

The options are nearly endless…

Pesto Pasta Salad

  1. Cook 1 lb of any pasta, then drain and chill with small amount of olive oil
  2. Mix 1/2 cup of mayonnaise with 1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce and combine with the pasta
  3. Top with sliced black olives and/or cheese, and chill until serving

Other options

  • Add a some extra olive oil and use it as a pizza sauce.  It is delicious!
  • Mix it with cream cheese or mayonnaise and use it as a sandwich spread or dip.  The sauce works straight too, but the fructose tally adds up faster that way.  Portion control will always be the main battle to avoid an upset tummy.
  • Top mashed potatoes with a dollop of pesto for and interesting twist on a staple.  Fun fact, if you mix it into the potatoes it kind of looks like guacamole.

Please share any tasty uses for this pesto with me at happyfructosefree@gmail.com, or simply reply to this post.

Happy eating to all! 🙂


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