Lemon Basil Pesto + Tomato Herb Tartlets with Pecan Crumble: Garden Inspired Recipes by Kate Stephenson

Screen Shot 2019-06-27 at 12.00.18 PM.png

On the recent Summer Solstice, we hosted a sweet gathering with our friends at Na Nin inspired by their beautiful garden collection of candles. Scents of garden tulip, lemon basil, and wild tomato filled the corners of our space and was accompanied by picture perfect weather, lively energy and the warmth of new and familiar faces from this wonderful community.

Kate Jennings of Na Nin has always been such an inspiration to us, and we are always delighted to find ways to foster partnership and collaboration with her team. She is adored far and wide in this community, and love revisiting our very first Boketto Moment with her time and time again.

The garden collection is inspired by Kate’s favorite memories from her childhood, and we love reading her personal story behind what inspired each scent in that collection.

Wild tomato | “My grandfather in South Carolina had over a hundred tomato plants that ended up sprouting into hundreds more over my grandparents’ property, and we would call them his ‘wild tomatoes.’ He would take such pride in these plants and in the summer he looked forward to delivering his tomatoes to residents in the small town he and my grandmother lived in.”

Lemon & basil | “My mother always used a lemon dish soap growing up and enjoyed cooking with basil. These two scents together remind me of my mother’s cooking and the clean, inviting lemon scent that lingered in our kitchen.”

Garden Tulip | “My parents had a handful of gardens, but the one in front of our Virginia farmhouse circled two trees that would grow the most beautiful tulips in a lovely range of colors. My mother would often tend to this garden, mulching and weeding while we would lay in the hammock that hung in between the two trees surrounded by the freshly turned earth and flowers.”

Drawing from this inspiration, we wanted to bring the ingredients from these scents alive in a tasteful way, and had the honor of crossing paths with Kate Stephenson, a local personal chef here in Richmond. Kate specializes in seasonal, farm-to-table style fare and uses the highest quality ingredients she can find to create elegant, balanced and simple meals. It was she who curated a beautiful and vibrant garden inspired plant based spread that included summer crudite and sourdough bread with lemon basil pesto, tomato herb tartlets with pecan crumble, and fresh strawberries, peaches and basil with coconut whipped cream. It was truly exceptional — so much so that we needed to get our hands on her recipes in order to share that love with all of you.

Kate brought so much joy and radiant energy to this summertime gathering, and we look forward to sharing all that’s in store for this incredibly talented woman. Keep your eyes peeled for more inspiring recipes, and in the meantime, we hope you find the time to re-create these in your own way, and in the comfort of your own home.

Lemon Basil Pesto (Vegan, GF)

Makes about 2 cups of pesto


100 grams basil leaves, washed and dried

25 grams parsley leaves, washed and dried

60 grams pine nuts, toasted

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup extra virgin olive oil (we love Brightland ALIVE, Plant People CBD Olive Oil, and Potli Hemp Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 TBS nutritional yeast

½ tsp sea salt


Food processor


Place herbs, pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the herbs have broken down.

Add olive oil to the food processor and pulse until the pesto comes together.

Add nutritional yeast and sea salt and pulse 2-3 times until mixed in. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Enjoy!

Tomato Herb Tartlets with Pecan Crumble Topping (Vegan)

Makes 48 mini tartlets


Tart Crust:

3 cups spelt flour

3 tsp salt

6 TBS olive oil

2/3 cup + 2 TBS cold water

Tart Filling:

3 pints cherry tomatoes, chopped into quarters

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Tart Topping:

1 cup toasted pecans

1 TBS nutritional yeast

2 tsp olive oil

¼ tsp sea salt

1 TBS finely chopped soft herbs (mint, basil or parsley work best)


Mini muffin tin

Fine mesh strainer

Food processor


Preheat oven to 400F

Combine all ingredients for tarts in a large bowl and mix with your hands to combine. If the mixture feels too dry, you can add more water 1 tsp at a time until it comes together. You want the mixture to come together but not be too wet.

Roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/8 inch thick. You might need to lightly flour the surface but won’t need too much extra flour.

Prepare your mini muffin tin by lightly spraying with coconut oil or olive oil. You can also use a non-stick mini muffin tin.

Using a 2 ½ inch round cutter, cut 48 rounds and fit them into your muffin tin. You can continue to re-roll the dough once you’ve cut the rounds. Unlike regular pie crust, this crust is very malleable and can easily be re rolled so that you use all of the dough.

Prick each tart crust lightly with a fork. Bake for 9 minutes.

Allow the tarts to cool for a few minutes then either using your hands or a spoon transfer the tart shells to a cookie sheet. While tart shells are cooling, make the filling.

In a large stainless steel sauté pan, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Sauté tomatoes for 7-8 minutes until they start to break down. Once they have started to break down and simmer, turn off the heat. You want the tomatoes to keep some of their shape and not be completely jammy.

Transfer tomatoes to a fine mesh strainer and strain out some of the liquid. Transfer tomatoes back to the pan or to a bowl. Fill each tart shell with about 2 tsp of the tomato mixture. If your tomato mixture is still very liquid, you can use your spoon to press out some of the liquid when you scoop the mixture from the pan.

Bake the filled tarts for an additional 7 minutes. While tarts are cooking, make the topping.

Pulse your pecans in a food processor until they are the size of large crumbs. Add nutritional yeast, olive oil and salt and pulse a few more times until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and mix in your herbs. I like to chop the herbs with scissors.

Top the tartlets with ¼ - ½ tsp herb mixture and enjoy!

Allison Walton