Presto it's Pesto!
Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash
A Super Food in its own right...
Pesto is said to have originated from Genoa in northern Italy. Traditionally pesto is made with basil. It can also be made with cilantro, parsley, spinach, arugula and even root veggie tops like carrots and beets. Mix and match the greens as you like or have on hand. All of these green veggies are packed with anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and flavor. Anyway you whip up pesto, it is super nourishing and a quick way to make your meal stand out with savory taste. Pesto freezes well so why not make a big batch.
Use pesto as a pasta sauce; marinade for fish, chicken or pork; pizza sauce in place of tomato sauce; layer for crostini, bruschetta or spread on other bread; or with rice. Am I missing some ideas, yes probably! If you have other ideas I would love to hear them.
Pesto traditionally includes Parmesan cheese but it is easy enough to make it dairy free. Just omit the cheese, no substitution necessary.
Here is the recipe featured. Improvise and experiment with ingredients that look freshest.
1 bunch fresh parsley rinsed and spun dry with most stems cut off. Traditional pesto is made with basil and that is wonderful too. You can also use cilantro, arugula, spinach or carrot tops.
3 Tbsp olive oil (If heating the pesto use olive oil, but if serving as a spread unheated then you may use flax oil for a great source of Omega 3's, but flax oil is delicate and can’t be heated)
3 cloves garlic (adjust to your taste)
Big pinch of sea or mineral salt
1/8 cup raw pumpkin seeds (Pine nuts are traditional. Walnuts also work well.)
Note on cheese: use about 1/4 cup grated when adding cheese. In addition to Parmesan I’ve also used grated fontina and raw jack cheese. I opted not to use cheese for this version because I marinated pork chops for the grill and don’t want any melted cheese.
There really are thick pork chops underneath the gorgeous pesto!
Put the parsley in a food processor and puree.
While on slow speed, add chopped garlic, salt and pumpkin seeds and puree until smooth.
Add oil in a stream while machine is running, until all is combined and creamy.
Taste and adjust with more salt if desired.
Spoon on pork chops or other meat (chicken or fish), cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or all day.
Prepare grill and heat to medium high.
I removed the thick layer of pesto while the first side grilled. Once I turned the chops I put the pesto back on top and let the meat finish. This one inch thick chop took about 4 minutes the first side and 3 minutes the second side to reach an internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, no longer pink inside but still juicy.
Dinner is served, with sautéed broccoli, red pepper, Vidalia onion and zucchini. Done in coconut oil with sea salt and oregano.
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