A Plethora of Pesto!

I recently received my first basket of organic vegetables from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and there was a LOT of green.  I mean a lot.  Now, I love green stuff but I have to say, even with a healthy appetite for salads, my husband grimaced slightly.  I figured I should probably use some of it right away and get it out of sight. We still have plenty to eat all week!

Some of the green stuff is what everyone eats: lettuce, spinach, kale, mint..the usual stuff.  The face my husband was making was more at the beet greens, turnip tops and radish leaves.  I love to use them-but sometimes, even for me, there are just too many.  The perfect solution? PESTO!

I made four different pestos using four different leaves and nuts.  All are very user friendly…don’t have pine nuts?  Use almonds! No radish leaves? Swap them for Turnip leaves. It works-trust me.  Use what you like and taste along the way. Here are a few recipes to get you started.  I immediately froze all of them and they are waiting for the perfect dish…

Garlic Scape Pesto:
Big handful garlic scapes…probably 10-15?
Big handful basil leaves
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 oz parmesan
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Radish Leaf Pesto:
2 large handfuls of radish leaves (fresh and bright green), stems removed
1 oz (about the size of your thumb) parmesan
1 handful pistachios (shell removed!!)
1/2 cup fresh blanched peas, cooled
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Beet Green Pesto:
1 bunch beet greens, stems removed
4 garlic cloves
1 handful walnuts
1 oz parmesan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

Kale and Sweet Pepper Pesto:
BIG handful of kale leaves, stems removed
6 small sweet peppers, roasted
1/2 cup pecans
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

How does it all come together? Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and turn it on. I don’t really chop anything up-that’s what the machine is for. You could freeze it into ice cube trays too…that would probably be better. Or like me, just break off a big frozen chunk and use it when you need it, whatever!

And now there is slightly more room in my fridge and no waste of delicious organic green-y goodness. Yippee! Still have green leftovers? Mix them into soups, stews and stirfries. Add them to salads! And if you really don’t think you’re going to use them, chop them and freeze em.  And get excited to have some fresh stuff in the winter.

Oh…right…what do I use pesto for? Well, pasta obviously.  But also chicken and pork.  On a delicious veggie sandwich.  Add them to meatballs or top your pizza. Smother your baked potato (or sweet potato) and corn from the BBQ. Beans! Potato salad! Hummus! Oh man, the choices are endless.  Pesto is a delicious and healthy way to add flavour to almost anything.  Enjoy!