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This recipe is inspired by the Kitchn’s Lemon Braised Chicken & Beans with Mint Pesto.

I love summer because of the variety of fresh herbs that are available at the farmers market or in your own backyard garden. If you can’t get your hands on lemon basil, lemon thyme, or lemon verbena don’t worry. It will taste just as good with the regular varieties and you can add that lemony flavor with lemon zest instead.

Slow Cooker Vegan Lemony Pesto Chick'n with White BeansYou can also make this an oil free dish by scooping some of the broth from the beans in the pesto and use it instead of olive oil. No one will know!

Ingredients:

1 package (10 ounce or 285g) Gardein Chick’n Scallopini or other vegan chicken substitute, chopped in large chunks (You can substitute wheat gluten to make it soy-free or use plain soy tempeh to make it gluten-free)

For the Lemony Pesto:

  • 1/2 cup thyme leaves (remove and discard any woody stems – use lemon or lime thyme if possible)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
  • 1 sprig of mint about 3 to 4 inches long (use orange or lime mint if you can)
  • 1/2 leaves basil (lemon basil if available)
  • 1 chive
  • 3 leaves lemon verbena or lemon balm (or substitute 1 teaspoon lemon zest)
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Bean Mixture:

  • 2 cups white beans
  • 4 to 5 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegan chickeny bouillon or vegetable bouillon

The night before: Make the pesto by combining all the ingredients in food processor and process until it starts to become a paste. Store the pesto in the fridge until the next evening. Oil the crock. Add the dry beans, water, garlic and bouillon. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours (overnight).

In the morning: Add the chopped Gardein Chick’n Scallopini (or another substitute listed above.) Continue to cook on low for another 7 to 9 hours on low.

15 minutes before serving: Add the pesto and mix in with chick’n and beans. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.

Serve with a green salad or a few steamed veggies to add an extra punch of nutrition. For easier cleaning fill the crock with soapy water and soak overnight. Make sure your crock had cooled down before adding cold water to it or the crock will crack.

Yields: 4 large servings 
Total Prep Time: 30 minutes total
Total Cooking Time: 16 hours including the initial bean cooking time, 8 if using canned beans

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