Ted’s “Killer” Peanut Pesto From ‘How I Met Your Mother’; PLUS Vegan Food Glossary!

Ted Mosby is the worst, am I right?

I love How I Met Your Mother, and I’ll loyally watch through good and bad (cough *current season* cough). It’s one of my best-known sitcoms, which is noteworthy if only because I caught the first 6 seasons solely through reruns in London (thanks, Channel E4 and your only airing HIMYM and The Big Bang Theory). But, regardless of my adoration for most of the cast and most of the episodes, the main character – the “I” in the title, for chrissakes – is the worst.

Sure, I want Ted to have a happy ending, and now that we know he gets to marry a super-talented Tony nominee, we’re finally near that happening. (Finally.) But part of me just wants to steal his stupid red cowboy boots and lock him in the chokey while I laugh maniacally outside and he yells through the bolted door “No no, you mean I make you ‘nauseated’, not ‘nauseous’”. Grahhhh, I like the actor who plays Ted, and I like that Ted apparently grows up to be Bob Saget. But the character is self-absorbed, whiny, and so focused on settling down that he tends to disregard good things that actually exist in his life.

One relationship that actually seemed to improve Ted’s character, at least in the short term, was with Stella (Sarah Chalke), the dermatologist who lasered off his butterfly tramp stamp. I really liked Stella. She was a good doctor and mother, and she confidently handled herself with the others in the group. But for a while, that’s all we knew, and that’s all Ted knew too. They rushed into an engagement after Ted’s brush with death, before really getting to know each other. Soon after their engagement, when Ted first cooks for Stella, we learn one of the most important lessons the show ever taught us: Not Sufficiently Knowing Your Fiancé Can Be Deadly.

Ted: “But can you guess my secret ingredient?”
Stella: (Choking) “Peanuts…”

Ted makes his special pesto for Stella’s first dinner over, and Stella forgets? doesn’t deem it important? to tell Ted that she has a food allergy. Okay, that’s believable. Not like she’s a doctor or anything. As Ted, with that ever-present smirk, asks Stella if she can guess the secret ingredient in his pesto, she squeaks out ‘peanuts’ as she clutches her throat and falls to the floor. Cue the ambulance sirens.

Although I’m sure we’d all like to, we can’t blame Ted for this one. Who on earth doesn’t mention a peanut allergy when eating? And when eating NUTS? I know people with peanut allergies and there’s no way in hell they’d eat an apple without verifying that it wasn’t going to kill them first, as they should. This is quite the logical leap the writers asked us to make, and I’m still kind of making the McKayla Maroney face about it. To calm down, I decided to finally see whether Ted’s idea for amazing pesto actually works.

It does.




  • 1 bunch fresh basil (about 2C loosely filled)
  • 1C raw (unroasted) plain peanuts
  • 2T fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1T nooch (optional)
  • dash salt and pepper (to taste)


1. Mix everything in a food processor.
2. Put on food.

I was really skeptical of using peanuts in pesto, especially after a friend said, “Ew, wouldn’t that be like peanut-buttery?” It’s not. Particularly because we are using raw peanuts, the taste is mild and close to the cashew-based pesto I usually make. (I haven’t used pine nuts in pesto in virtually a decade because 2 tablespoons cost $31 dollars and a toe.) I would make this again, and I’d like to experiment with roasted peanuts to see how the taste deepens.

So, nice job Ted. You did something right.

Click through to the next page for a Vegan Food Glossary that will help with future posts!


  • Nutritional Yeast (Nooch): a yellow, flakey, inactive yeast with a cheesy flavor, used in many vegan cheese sauces and spreads. Often fortified with B-12. Do not confuse with yeast for baking! Where to find: Whole Foods, health food stores, some bigger supermarkets, or online
  • Miso: Traditional Japanese condiment made from fermented soybeans, rice, or other beans and grains. Adds saltiness and umami. Where to find: natural foods stores, Asian groceries. Keep refrigerated.
  • Seitan: a faux meat product made from vital wheat gluten, the protein in wheat. Chewy and extremely versatile. Also called ‘wheat meat’ by gross people. Where to find: Ready-made in Whole Foods, natural food stores. Or make your own using:
  • Vital Wheat Gluten: the powdered/flour version of wheat gluten, the protein in wheat. Used to make homemade seitan and similar products. Where to find: The baking aisle of most markets.
  • Tempeh: a traditional Asian soy product, shaped like a cake or patty, made from fermented soybeans and often grains. Because it is fermented, it is nutritionally very different from tofu, with more protein, fiber, and vitamins. It’s often still eaten by people who eschew tofu because it’s so good for you. Where to find: Asian groceries, most supermarkets.
  • Tofu: bean curd, made from the curds of soy milk pressed into white blocks. Thousands of years old. The most versatile thing on the planet, it takes on the flavor of whatever you want it to, from faux meats to cheese sauces to chocolate pudding. Note: For savory cooking of actual pieces of tofu, look for water-packed containers of firm or extra-firm tofu. For puddings or for when you will be blending it, you’ll want vacuum-packed/aseptic containers of silken tofu. Where to find: pretty much everywhere.
  • Tahini: a delicious Middle Eastern paste made from sesame seeds, aka sesame seed butter. A primary ingredient in most hummus recipes. Excellent addition to sauces. Where to find: Whole Foods, natural food stores, most larger groceries.
  • Tamari: an alternative to soy sauce, naturally fermented. Easily found gluten-free. Richer and less salty than soy sauce. Where to find: Asian groceries, larger markets.
  • Agave nectar: the most common alternative to honey (which is not vegan). Made from the agave plant (as tequila is), it’s a natural sweetener, with a low glycemic index. Where to find: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, natural food stores, larger markets.
  • Agar agar: a vegetarian form of gelatin, sourced from seaweed. Available in flakes or powder — always buy the powder. Where to find: Whole Foods, speciality stores, Asian groceries.
  • Vegan: a) food that contains no animal products or anything sourced from an animal, including eggs, milk, butter, yogurt, or honey; b) a person who eats in this manner, and who also refrains from wearing animal products (leather, wool, &c) and using products that were tested on animals. And who loves cupcakes.


  • Cashew Creme: Cashews are pure magic! Soak them in water for 4 hours up to overnight, and they will blend smoothly. You can usually boil them if you didn’t plan ahead, but for some reason the taste of the raw soaked ones is better. It’s about 1C soaked cashews with 1/2C water, more or less depending on the desired thickness.
  • Buying Cashews: Unless you are making spiced cashews for the Queen, buy cashew pieces! They are much cheaper, and we’re usually blending them anyway. Also, while I’m usually a big proponent of bulk bins (all my beans and grains come from there), my Whole Foods actually charges more for a pound of cashews from the bulk bin than for the pound of already bagged ones! So, just keep an eye out for the best deal.
  • Buttermilk: In baking, buttermilk helps things rise, and it improves the texture. Vegan buttermilk can be made by mixing 2t apple cider vinegar into 1C of nondairy milk and letting it curdle. It works!
  • Buying beans: I use a lot of beans. A lot a lot. I sometimes will buy them in bulk to cook from scratch, but it’s time consuming. So, canned beans are fine if you will eat them.
  • On that note, buy lentils and grains in bulk if you can! You’ll save a lot of money, and you’ll go through them too quickly for regular sized bags anyway.
  • For new vegans: Make sure you eat enough! Many issues new vegans experience are due to insufficient calorie intake. But it’s important to make sure you are covering your nutritional bases as well. A great resource is theveganrd.com
  • Accidentally vegan foods are the some of the greatest sources of happiness on this planet. Some of the great ones in the USA? Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, Twizzlers, Nutter Butters, and Oreos! I know!

And finally,

  • Peanut butter does not contain dairy! (So many people think this!!)
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