I’ve technically already shared my pesto recipe in an earlier blog post, BUT… I love it so much and will be making it so often that I thought it deserved its very own special post.
The great thing about pesto is that it’s so versatile. You can literally use any kind of leafy green in place of the arugula I chose for this recipe. Here are some examples of what you could try:
- Mustard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Collard Greens
- Romaine Hearts
- Broccoli (Steamed for 6 minutes and drained before processing)
- Fennel Fronds
The greens aren’t the only thing you can substitute. Choose a different nut… like almonds or walnuts. Just remember to toast them first. This allows their natural oils to be released and their hidden aromas to come out, which means more flavor for your pesto.
Also, if you like a milder garlic flavor, try roasting the garlic instead of putting raw garlic in your food processor.
Fresh Arugula Pesto
Yield: 1 cup
- 2 cups fresh arugula, packed
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, packed (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted*
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast pine nuts until aromatic and lightly browned; about 2 -3 minutes. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add garlic and process on high for about 3 seconds. Add pine nuts, parmesan cheese, mixed greens, basil, and blend while slowly adding the olive oil, stopping once to scrape down sides of container. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate (up to 1 week) or freeze until ready to use.
*If using a different type of nut other than pine nuts, it will be better to toast them in the oven. Preheat oven to 350° F, place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Different nuts have different cooking times, so keep an eye on them.
What to do with fresh pesto: Drizzle on top of a creamy soup or use it in the base of a soup. Spread on sandwiches. Drizzle over cooked steak, poultry, or fish. Use it as a marinade for any meat before grilling. Mix it with roasted veggies or potatoes before or after baking. Use as a salad dressing, mix with cooked pasta, or use it as pizza sauce. One of my favorite uses for fresh pesto is an open-faced egg sandwich with the pesto drizzled on top of the egg (yum).
Of course you can never go wrong when making a traditional pesto with basil and pine nuts, but why not think outside the box and choose flavors that will better compliment your dish.