Pantry Top Five Recipe Edition: Umeboshi Paste Posted July 27, 2018 One of the most frequent questions NGI chef instructors get is “What should I stock my pantry with?” Chef Elliott Prag shared his pantry staples on our blog where he went back to basics and thousands of years of Japanese tradition. One of the items on his list of staples is umeboshi paste, which is pureed pickled Japanese ume plums. Highly alkaline, antibacterial, and effective in clearing lactic acid, umeboshi paste is known to support both digestion and immunity. It is commonly used for acid indigestion and reflux, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, and even a hangover. Beyond its nutritional benefits, umeboshi paste is commonly utilized for its culinary applications. Use it as an alternative to salt and vinegar, whisk it into olive oil for a simple salad dressing, or use it as a condiment for sushi rolls or other small bites. As an umami flavor bomb with a rich and tangy taste, umeboshi paste can also provide a cheesy flavor in vegan dishes. When used in conjunction with miso, it can take any dish to the next level. This vegan pesto, which uses both umeboshi paste and miso to create a delicious umami flavor, is perfect for a pasta salad, topped on grilled vegetables, or as a condiment for your veggie burger! BASIL PINE NUT PESTO Ingredients 5 ounces basil, stemmed Pinch sea salt ½ cup pine nuts 1 garlic clove 2 teaspoons umeboshi paste 2 teaspoons chickpea miso ½ cup extra virgin olive oil Procedure: Prepare an ice bath. In 2 ½ quart pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add basil and pinch of salt. Blanch basil 2-3 seconds. Shock basil in ice bath, drain, and squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside. Combine and puree pine nuts, garlic, basil, umeboshi paste, and miso in food processor. Through feed tube, add oil slowly and puree until well combined (20-30 seconds). Use immediately or store, covered in the refrigerator up to one week or in the freezer for one month or more.