Get your Greens with Pesto
Pesto is said to have originated from Genoa in northern Italy making basil pesto traditional with pasta. It is also delicious with rice and used as a marinade for chicken, fish and pork. Try it in place of tomato sauce on pizza, as a layer for crostini and bruschetta.
Invent your own pesto traditions with all-around greens. Make it with cilantro, parsley, spinach, arugula and even root veggie tops like carrots and beets. This is a great way to get your greens on and use up greens you might not otherwise eat. Mixing and matching greens is fun and delicious.
The latest version of this recipe I made was using a bunch of cilantro and what remained of arugula in the crisper drawer. The arugula by itself had lost its appeal, but still plenty fresh, in the pesto it was divine. The contrast of cilantro and arugula is one of my favorite combinations of ingredients for pesto.
All of these green veggies are packed with anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and flavor. Cilantro in particular is said to aid the body in detoxification of heavy metals. In a serving of pesto you will receive a large ‘dose’ of greens that otherwise would be a ‘huge’ amount of salad greens to consume.
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 make a big batch while you are doing it.
Consider the recipe a guide for you to follow exactly or change up as you wish.
Feel free to leave your comments of inspiration for others and how you love pesto.
Basic Pesto Recipe
1 bunch fresh basil. Basil is the one ingredient I do not rinse. It doesn’t do well rinsed and when I buy organic it is sealed unlike the other greens. Anything else, rinse well after soaking five to 10 minutes in a white vinegar and water mix. Spin dry rinsed greens.
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 and pecans also work well.
3 Tbsp olive oil. Olive oil isn’t a good high heat oil, but you won’t be heating pesto to any great extent. If using as a marinade for grilling consider replacing olive oil with walnut or avocado oil which are better high heat oil. Add more oil for a thinner consistency.
Cheese is optional. Parmesan is traditional. About an 1/8 cup is my ratio. Start there unless you are omitting cheese. Grated fontina and gruyere also work well . When I am grilling I generally omit the cheese.
Play with the ingredients ratios, taste and adjust as you go to find what delights you.
Put the greens in a food processor and puree.
While on slow speed, add chopped garlic, salt and pumpkin seeds. 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.
If marinating, spoon on meat, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or all day.
If adding to pasta or rice or using as a spread, this is ready to serve.
When grilling, prepare grill and heat to medium high. Cook low and slow, watching closely so it doesn’t burn. Be sure to be careful to discard any pesto and use clean utensils so the uncooked meat/juices aren’t transferred.
Bon Appétit !