Pesto

Let’s talk about pesto. Delicious. Versatile. Packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Bursting with flavor. Pretty much all things yummy.

But I feel like it gets a bad rap for being too expensive, ingredient exclusive and labor intensive to make. Orrr maybe I just gave it that rap 🤣

I remember making this with my aunt and cousins. It was a blast, but I remember literally plucking BUSHELS of basil, toasting bags upon bags of pine nuts, using gallons of olive oil and huge Costco containers of Parmesan. Then we would spend the entire evening whirring these ingredients up in a food processor. And I mean, we made quite a bit of pesto, but I remember being shocked at how countertops full of ingredients could be reduced to a few jars of <delicious> green paste.

It just seemed like making pesto, while a delicious and fun family project, would always be expensive and laborious.

And I’ve recently discovered that that isn’t always the case. I’ll admit that my summertime pesto always has basil because it’s so easy to grow, but my nuts and oils always vary to what I have on hand. Sometimes I even use avocados in place of some of the nuts/oils.

And my winter time pesto… I never know what’s gonna be in that. Sometimes it’s arugula. Sometimes it’s a mix of spinach and other herbaceous leafy greens. I’ve used kale.

And I think I’ve used every nut imaginable. The only ones I don’t recommend are peanuts and pecans… just too sweet and powerful, without being complimentary to the Parmesan and greens. I also highly recommend toasting. Adds an extra step, but really enhances the flavor. But if you’re in a pinch for time, not toasting them is still fine. Walnuts, macadamia, pine, Brazil and hazel- nuts all work well, in my opinion.

Anyhoo. I’m rambling. But I encourage you to play with pesto! It’s fun and Inthink you’d be surprised at the yummy combos you can make 🤗

Below is the recipe for the pictured pesto, and below are other yummy combos I’ve tried, with about the same ingredient ratios 🤗

Summer Basil Pesto

2c. Basil (packed)

2/3c toasted, then cooled walnuts

2/3c Parmesan cheese

1/2c EVOO

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Recipe:

Place basil on the bottom of a food processor/vitamix. Squeeze lemon over top. Add walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until ingredients are well incorporated. Slowly add oil until the mixture becomes pasty (you may have to play around with the amount of oil here).

Try not to eat it all with a spoon.

I love this on Pesto Zoodles. On crackers. With carrots. With pasta. In this pasta salad. With slices of tomato. Gosh just about anything I want to give a flavor boost really!

Here are some other combos I’ve really enjoyed:

Arugula-macadamia nuts-avocado

Basil-pine nuts-EVOO

Baby kale-walnut-EVOO

Parsely-pine nut-avocado oil

Collard Turkey Wraps with Herbacious Tahini “Cole Slaw”

I got this idea from the 21 Day Keto Reset as well. I never thought of using Collards as a wrap before until I bought one at Whole Foods made by Eat Gud Whole Foods. I became obsessed with making a delicious lemony tahini dressing and making a delicious collard wrap. So this is a conglomeration of a lot of different things… it was also kind of hard to organize because I drew from so many different places. It might look painstaking and time consuming at first, but the different parts of this are very versatile and can be used for many different things!

IE, the tahini dressing can be used to taste here, on the herb salad and saved in the fridge for other things.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

4 Big Collard Leaves

4 slices organic turkey breast

1c Herbacious Tahini Cole Slaw

Directions:

  1. Use a knife to cut the thick unedible part of the collard stem… you should end up with a heart(ish) shaped leaf
  2. Place a slice of turkey breast onto the collard leaf and place ¼ cup herbacioud tahini cole slaw on top.
  3. Tuck the tails of the wrap in and roll the wrap. I like to leave the top open so I can add more dressing, but you can also close the top if you’d like!

Recipe for Tahini Dressing:

Ingredients:

1/4c Tahini

1/4c avocado oil or EVOO

1 tbsp braggs liquid aminos, coconut aminos or tamari

Juice from ½ lemon

1 tbsp minced garlic

½ tsp minced ginger

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender (like Vitamix)
  2. Slowly add warm water until the dressing is thick, but pourable… I usually vary from about 1/3-1/2 cup because I like a thick, spoonable dressing. If you like a thinner, runnier dressing add more. It’s completely to taste.

Recipe for Slaw:

Ingredients:

1/2c fresh cilantro

1/2c fresh Italian parsley

1 small bag broccoli slaw, or just regular cole slaw

2c arugula*

1 avocado, cubed

*to me, the arugula has a really peppery taste. Sometimes I’m into it, sometimes I’m not. To me, this ingredient is optional. If I don’t use arugula, I usually compensate by adding more herbs or cole slaw.

Directions:

  1. Finely chop cilantro and parsley together, then add the slaw.
  2. Pour in desired amount of dressing and mix well
  3. Toss gently with the arugula, if using and top with avocado.