Vegan Dollar Tree Meals #2 – Guajillo Kale Pesto

Vegan Guajillo Kale PestoDollar Tree has a ton of Mexican ingredients, including large bags of dried herbs that will last a lifetime, it seems like, they are that big!   So I chose to do something along those lines, Mexican inspired, but challenged myself to use an ingredient I had not ever used before, that I would never have thought of using before.  I decided to make Guajillo Kale Pesto.

First off let me say that DT, for me, fills my lunch time recipes list items better.  I always buy my large cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce there, bags of dried beans, or when I am feeling lazy canned beans.  They always have noodles, jars of mushrooms, cans of artichokes, and always the condiments-different types of mustard and brand name ketchup.  Also spices (pepper, garlic salt, garlic powder, salt-free spices and large salt containers) that are great and tasty and don’t come with name brand prices.  Also they have the frozen fajita veggies, mixed brocolli and cauliflower, and frozen mangos and pineapple.

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So I randomly chose guallijo peppers-I thought they would kind of be like the ancho chili’s Rachael Ray would reconsistute on her 30 Minute Meals show.  I had to read up on the guajillo pepper to find out how to reconstitute them and what the flavor is-spicy but fuity is what the site says.  I found this helpful site and it lists every dried chili and was really helpful.  I thought it would be harder to reconstitute something but it isn’t.  I wish I had thought beforehand to pick up rubber or plastic gloves to cover my hands-I had a VERY bad experience once with I didn’t have any on and was cutting peppers and then rubbed my face and eyes after washing…ouch!  I had to use a plastic bag to cover my hand.  It worked.

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I used my biggest pot, and did the entire meal in that one pot. Just washed it after each process.  I started with my dried black beans.  Measured and washed one cup then poured them into the pot.  Covered with water and brought to a boil, then simmered for an hour and a half.  When done, I drained and rinsed the beans then washed out the pot.  The water turns black, so definitely wash the pot.  The last half hour of the beans I de-stemmed and de-seeded the peppers.  I then added the peppers and water, brought to a boil then took off of the burner and covered for 30 minutes.

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After the 30 minutes just drain and pour the peppers and some leftover seeds into your food processor.  Wash the pot then add frozen veggies and cover with water and bring to a boil.  While the veggies get started wash cilantro and tear off leaves and add sunflower seeds.  Add spices.  Wash kale and in smaller batches, take off leaves and add to the processor and blend.  I did mine in 3 batches.  Once the kale gets processed, there is a more room to add more leaves.  I added water during the processing to get things grooving, the best thing I have ever done!

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Once the water in the pot starts to boil, add the noodles.  When veggies and noodles are done, drain and set aside.  Rough chop the onion and with a little oil add to pot.  Let cook for two minutes then add corn and mushrooms and heat them through.  Add veggies, noodles and beans.  Slowly add pesto and mix.  I used only 2/3 of the pesto and froze the rest.  I will say that it wasn’t to spicy so I would have added more seeds to get more flavor.  Also, it is best the same day not as good as leftovers as my other meals, but still good.  Awesome that day though.  So my Dollar Tree meal for seven meals plus leftover pesto was only $8 from DT, I had the spices and noodles already and only bought the kale and cilantro-an extra $1.07.  Whoop!

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Vegan Guajillo Kale Pesto

Guajillo Kale Pesto, 7 + leftover pesto

1 C Dry Black Beans, rinsed & boiled (DT)
1 Pkg Dried Guajillo Peppers, deseeded & reconstituted (DT)
1 Bunch Cilantro, washed
1/2 C Salted Sunflower Seeds (DT)
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Chives
1 Bunch Kale, rinsed
1 C Water, throughout
2 Pkg Frozen Mixed Veggies (DT)
1 Pkg Favorite Pasta
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 Can Corn (DT)
1 Jar Mushrooms (DT)
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic (DT)
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1.  Measure and rinse black beans. Pour into pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer and lightly put lid on.
2.  Simmer beans about 1.5 hours.  Rinse and set aside.  Wash out pot.
3.  With covered hands, cut open peppers and deseed.  Drop peppers into first pot.
4.  Cover peppers with water and bring to a boil.  Turn off burner and move peppers to back of stove. Let sit for 30 minutes.
5.  Drain and drop peppers into food processor.  Add some of the pepper seeds (use judgement on how hot you want the pesto).
6.  Wash out pot.
7.  Pour frozen veggies into pot and cover with water.  Turn burner on high.
8.  Pour noodles in after veggies have softened.
9.  While bringing water to boil, rinse cilantro and rip off leaves and drop in processor.
10.  Add sunflower seeds, spices and oil.  Process.
11.  Wash kale and pull off leaves of half the bunch and drop in processor.  Add 1/2 cup water.  Process.
12.  Add in rest of kale and 1/2 cup more water.  Process until mixed well.
13.  Pour veggies and noodles into strainer.  Chop onion.
14.  Add one tablespoon oil and onion to pot; turn burner on high.
15.  When onions are softened add drained mushrooms and corn.
14.  Add in veggies and noodles and beans.  Mix.
15.  Add 2/3 of the pesto and mix.  Freeze the rest of the pesto.
16.  Enjoy!

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