Shiso Overload

9 Sep

The sun shines bright on shiso-basil pesto.

We’ve been getting the most delicious produce ever from Alegría Farms, a vertical hydroponic farm that popped up in Laguna Canyon. Twice a week we get a beautiful bouquet of lettuces, chard, kale, collard greens and plenty of herbs. (And the tomatoes. OH the tomatoes! The taste is so good you could faint.) The Husband loved their green smoothies so much that he bought me a Vitamix, which means I’m a very happy girl.

Salads are pretty delicious now, and now the taste of all kale from anywhere but Alegría Farms tastes tough and bitter. And I’ve got more shiso (Japanese basil) than I know what to do with. Up until my discovery of the farm, I’ve only ever had shiso at a sushi restaurant, accenting my favorite hamachi sashimi.

Never one to balk at a challenge, I came up with two recipes for shiso that I love. I’ll be happy to experiment more, as I’m sure more shiso will show up on Tuesday with my next bouquet from Alegría. I saw something about combining it with pineapple, and that does sound pretty delicious.

But in the meantime, here are two recipes for you—I’m sure you can sub regular basil for the shiso if you don’t have it. I believe you can get it at Japanese or Asian markets, if you want to try the unique, slightly spicy flavor.

For the Green Goddess dressing, I’m off soy and couldn’t find any mayo that wasn’t laden with weird additives, so I came up with this recipe. It also uses very little oil, so it shouldn’t be too fattening.

Vegan Green Goddess Dressing (Soy-free)

2 Tbs tahini
1 Tbs sunflower seeds
1 cup fresh mixed herbs (I used combo of garlic chives, shiso and basil)
2 Tbs ripe avocado
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp agave syrup

Throw everything in a Vitamix or very strong blender. Add more water by the tablespoonful if necessary.

Shiso-Basil Pesto

3/4 cup shiso leaves (no stems)
1/4 cup basil leaves (no stems)
1/3 cup sprouted raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup EVOO
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt

Shove all ingredients into a Vitamix or small food processor. You could probably use a stick blender also. Add a few drops more olive oil for a looser consistency.

If you’re not vegan or lactose intolerant, you could happily throw in some grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese in there, but if you do, reduce the salt by half.


23 Responses to “Shiso Overload”

  1. girlinafoodfrenzy September 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Gorgeous! I have a love for these beautiful dainty micro herbs, unfortunately my wallet doesn’t as teeny tiny punnet can cost as much as $7-8 for a tray here (which makes them pricier than berries at a time) Autumn’s first day’s, so no doubt your enjoying the seasons change.

    • tinykitchenstories September 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

      Thanks! The shiso leaves I get are quite big–so sorry they’re so expensive over there! Although the dates say “fall” we’ve still got a lot of heat here in Laguna. I shouldn’t complain, but it’s been hotter than we’re used to over the last few months…

  2. Somer September 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I have pure shiso envy….

    • tinykitchenstories September 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      I’ll be checking your blog for some new green smoothie recipes, my dear. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  3. hipfoodiemom September 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Nice! YUM!

  4. lorrielorrieb September 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Very nice. Will certainly try this!
    I just saw a news report on the verticle gardening, seems they are building one out of an old several story parking garage in Vancouver. Looked very cool. But they were showing some test one, I wish I could remember where, but all the leafy greens they produced went to certain monkeys in the zoo……who LOVED it of course!!

    • tinykitchenstories September 10, 2012 at 10:09 am #

      I’ll have to check that out online! We’re LOVING the produce from Alegria, green smoothies every day, and the best salads ever. 🙂

      • lorrielorrieb September 10, 2012 at 10:27 am #


      • lorrielorrieb September 10, 2012 at 10:29 am #

        Nice!! Oh and I’m jealous about the Vitamix. I came so close to buying one when we were in Oregon ( no tax) but I chickened out because I fear it would be just too much blender for me! Please keep us posted on how it works out for you and maybe post more of your creations from it…….might encourage me to take the leap.

        • tinykitchenstories September 10, 2012 at 10:46 am #

          I don’t think the Vitamix would be “too much blender”–I didn’t know it has a variable speed to it, so you can have it go really slow and super high, and everywhere in between. I’m still getting used to it, but I’m loving it! And more recipes are on the way. Cheers! 🙂

          • lorrielorrieb September 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

            Good to know. I look forward to further reports.

  5. Mama's Gotta Bake September 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Wow! A Vitamix huh! I think that will have to be my next piece of kitchen equipment! Lovely recipe.

    • tinykitchenstories September 12, 2012 at 6:25 am #

      Thank you! It’s worked on so many dishes so far. And Costco has a great price on Vitamixes…just saying!

  6. Shira September 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    These look great Jennifer! this must have been the wonderful recipe you referenced to go with that GF chickpea flatbread 🙂 It looks awesome! I am also loving the look of that dressing too – yum! X

    • tinykitchenstories September 15, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      Thanks! Always a compliment from you! 🙂 Bought some gram flour yesterday, and once the temp comes down from 97 (!!) here in Laguna, I’ll be able to turn the oven on and try your recipe!

  7. M. September 16, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Amazing! I’ve never had shiso except the leaves that come packed with umeboshi. Making pesto with it sounds divine.

    • tinykitchenstories September 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      I had so many I had to get creative. It really worked nicely with the raw sprouted pumpkin seeds. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  8. The Mouse September 20, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    Shiso pesto … maybe on some pork belly … faint!

    • tinykitchenstories September 21, 2012 at 9:08 am #

      OH MY GOD YOU’RE A GENIUS. Firmly on list of things to make ASAP!

      • The Mouse September 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

        Have a good weekend! 🙂

  9. daisyandthefox October 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    great idea for a pesto! can’t wait to try it! 🙂

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