Easy Peasy Pesto

August 30, 2012

Pesto is such a flavorful condiment, I honestly don’t know why I don’t make it more often.  The variations on this basic recipe are endless and the fact that there’s no cooking involved in preparing it, makes it perfect for whipping up on a hot summer day.  It’s so versatile it can be used on pasta, fish or even a burger.

Tell me, what do you like to serve your pesto on?

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Pesto spread on wheat buns for Portabello Paninis

Basil Pesto

printable recipe

  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and continue processing, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture forms a thick paste. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the Parmigiano. Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

I’ve had several people ask me for a good quinoa recipe lately, and this is the one I always recommend.  The lemon gives it a refreshing, summery taste and the mixture of toasted pine nuts, kale and quinoa give it a surprising heartiness that leaves you feeling full.  It’s great on its own, or alongside a tasty wrap to round out a healthy lunch.  This recipe is a great guide, because you can swap out different ingredients to change up the taste…use almonds or walnuts instead of pine nut, sub feta or cubed mozzarella for the goat cheese or even use a different grain, such as Farro, for the base.   The combinations are endless while staying healthy, delicious and budget-friendly.

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A satisfying choice for Meatless Monday

Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

 Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and sliced into 1” ribbons
  • 1 lemon (Meyer, if you can find them) zested and juiced
  • 2 scallions,chopped
  • 1tbs roasted walnut oil (you can use evoo or sunflower oil, but the walnut oil really has a  great flavor)
  • 3 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Bring the salted water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes, then top with chopped kale and re-cover.  Simmer 5 more minutes then remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and zest through goat cheese in a medium bowl.  Head back to the stove to check on the quinoa.  It should have absorbed all the liquid and you should be able to fluff it with a fork.  Mix the kale in with the quinoa, then pour over lemon/oil mixture.  You can serve immediately or chill overnight and have for lunch the next day. It’s great served warm or cold!

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