This summer I got into a pesto funk. I’d been making it so regularly, it just wasn’t exciting anymore. Then, one day I looked down at my garden and saw these kales:
And there was some arugula. And, that little basil plant. And so I thought: what if I upped my game? What if I went with heartier, more nutritional greens? The result was delicious. (And the perfect antidote to certain other, more naughty summer recipes I’ve been making.)
It happens that I’m allergic to nuts. So I decided to mix up my protein component as well. Hemp seeds are fantastic, nutty and high in protein. I also threw in some sunflower seeds and pepitas. (Roasted pepitas are my standard substitute for nuts.) If you aren’t allergic, try walnuts!
I’m ALSO pretty lazy these days in the kitchen, so I started out with block parmesan, I didn’t even grate it. I just threw it in the food processor.
I added the nuts and garlic.
And then I gave it a whirl. Next I added salt, olive oil, greens (I barely chopped them because I’m a sloth.) and lemon. (A tip: subbing in half fake lemon that comes in the plastic lemon-shaped container is the best way to keep the pesto green when you store it. Otherwise, it goes a little brown.) And, around we went.
And, viola! (Translated out of Alaska hick-ese for my international audience, this word is spelled Voilà.)
Not only is it great on pasta, but also on grilled salmon and tossed with quinoa or hot boiled potatoes. Store in a jar in the fridge covered with a layer of olive oil.
SUPER easy SUPER PESTO (nut-free!)
(Makes enough to cover 16 oz dry pasta, with some left over.)
About 5 to 6 cups greens, roughly half sturdy (kale, arugula, dandelion) and half herbs (basil, tarragon, Italian parsley, even cilantro works, though in that case, maybe go lime instead of lemon, increase the acid and add some heat.)
2/3 cup seeds (hemp, pumpkin, and/or sunflower. Or, if you like, use walnuts or pine nuts.)
Block of parmesan about the size of a deck of cards. Or about 1/2 cup grated.
2 cloves of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
A couple generous pinches of sea salt (to taste)
1/3 cup good olive oil (or more, depending on desired texture)
Pepper (to taste)
Roughly chop the cheese and throw it in the bowl of a food processor with the garlic and the seeds. Give it a good run so the cheese is finely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients. Whir it around until it’s the desired texture. Add more oil, acid or salt, depending on your taste and a grind of pepper. Store it in the fridge with a layer of olive oil over the top.