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Spring greens pesto

May 10, 2018

Last week's 3-day heatwave sent my garden into overdrive. It's positively exploding with greens over here.

 

Lettuces, beets, and Chinese broccoli, oh my!

 

 

From this overflowing bed, I harvested broccoli raab and arugula...it's pesto time.

 

 

 

That's right, pesto doesn't have to be limited to basil, it can be made from all sorts of flavorful greens. Pesto is a great way to use greens that you might not think to cook with, such as the tops of carrots and radishes. In this pesto, the spicy peppery arugula balances the bitterness of the broccoli raab. 

 

I start with 2 big peeled garlic cloves and whiz them up in the food processor until they're smashed to bits.

 

Then 1/4 cup of nuts go in: while pine nuts are traditional, they're also expensive, so I prefer walnuts. Sunflower seeds are a great alternative if you have a nut allergy.

 

I then add 1/2 cup of parmesan, though you can double up on the nuts or seeds if you're dairy-free.

 

Now the greens, 2 cups, packed tightly or the final consistency will be too thin.

 

Drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and the secret ingredient: freshly-squeezed lemon juice to punch up the flavors and retain the bright green color.

 

To make it dinner, I plan to toss this pesto with penne, chickpeas, and crumbled Italian sausage and serve it with a great big salad. Mmmmmmmmmmm! 

 

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