Broccoli Pesto Bruschetta

With the holidays fast approaching, the need for crowd-pleasing, festive-looking, and great-tasting appetizers for holiday parties is growing by the day. If you’ve been searching for a delicious vegan appetizer, this bruschetta is a perfect option! I made this tonight to go with a giant bowl of pasta in preparation for a LOOOONG trail run tomorrow. It’s got a great mix of textures and flavors, and definitely has enough garlic to keep the vampires (or unwanted attention?) away.

Plus, that festive green color is perfect for celebrating the Oregon Ducks’ 10-0 record! My sister came down for the game at Cal and spent Friday night with us, which was awesome because I haven’t seen her in far too long. We immediately headed into San Francisco for some shopping and food.

First stop: Forever 21. Uh Oh.

Nope, we did NOT make it out empty-handed.

As soon as Mike got off work we met up and walked through Union Square, which already has a Christmas tree and a tiny ice rink. IT IS STILL NOVEMBER.

We walked through Chinatown…

Banksy sighting!

I was a little photo-crazy but it’s not my fault this city is so photogenic! Mike and Em got tired of waiting for me.

We crossed over into North Beach and were getting extremely hungry. So hungry, in fact, that we sat down at probably the most-touristy establishment in the neighborhood. We were sucked in by the tables on the sidewalk and all the candles.

Beer was definitely in order (Fat Tire for me, Great White for Emily).

Beer and pizza make us happy.

The pizza (sorry for the HORRIBLE lighting): marinated eggplant with black olives and goat cheese. Not the best execution, but a combination I definitely plan on replicating at home.

Much more exciting than the pizza was the adorable Fox Terrier named Molly at the table next to us!

After dinner we made our way home and slept so we were ready for a 4 mile run this morning. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL out.

Emily had to meet up with a friend in the city to go to the game, so we decided to go back to North Beach for some more pizza. (I didn’t realize until after we got into the city that my memory card was not in my camera, so these are crappy iPhone pictures) We decided to try a slice at Golden Boy Pizza.

I loved this place! It’s totally funky inside and they have about 5 different kinds of pizza by the slice.

I loved my slice of Pesto Vegetarian!

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with friends before coming home tired and VERY hungry. With 20+ very hilly miles on the agenda for tomorrow, we wanted a lot of carbs for dinner (and lets be honest, even when I’m not running 20+ miles, I want a lot of carbs).

I whipped up some vegan broccoli pesto adapted from this recipe), and toasted some baguette slices under the broiler. This garlicky, bright green spread makes a perfect bruschetta topping and it’s pretty quick to whip up, plus it’s a nice change from the typical basil pesto.

Recipe:
20 slices of baguette (about 1/2 a loaf)
3 cups broccoli florets
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
a pinch or two sea salt

Arrange the slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast under a hot broiler for a few minutes on each side, or until golden around the edges.

Set a steamer basket over simmering water and steam the broccoli florets until very tender. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Combine the broccoli, walnuts, garlic, salt, and olive oil in a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Taste and add garlic or salt if necessary. Spread the pesto on the toasted bread, then put under the broiler for a minute or two to heat through.

And out of curiosity, how do you feel about Christmas stuff in early November? I think it is WAY too early…

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