Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Make Pesto with Any Greens from Your Garden

Ever year I try growing new vegetables in the garden. This year it's corn, broccoli, Swiss chard and mustard greens. The chard was a disaster and it's too early to comment on the broccoli and corn but the mustard greens just took over. See for yourself.


A lot of people seem to think that growing plants is hard but I honestly sprinkled some seeds in the ground, watered them daily, and less than two months later it's mustard greens city up in here. 

Now that I've got greens galore you'd think it's all mustard green salads and mustard collard greens but I quickly learned that I'm not a huge fan of these overpowering weeds. 

Thankfully Siri Pinter saved the day. Have you seen her blog Siriously Delicious? She's a hilarious writer but more importantly, she loves food and trying out new recipes. When I read her blog post about pesto, and about how you can make it from anything like kale or arugula, I knew exactly what I needed to do. 

Tonight I made pesto from mustard greens and might have licked the inside of the blender clean because it was so delicious. 

I followed this recipe for winter greens pesto but made a few changes. 


Ingredients: 
8 oz winter greens (I used mustard greens and removed the stems and larger veins)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds*
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic (I actually used 5 cloves because I'm awesome)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

*The original recipe called for 1/2 cup pine nuts but OMG have you seen the price of pine nuts? Kroger wanted $7.99 for 4.5 oz so instead, I used 1/4 cup pine nuts and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds which were $2.99 for 10 oz. 

Recipe: 
Blanch your greens (after removing the steams and larger veins). What this means is that you need to bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop your greens into the boiling water and when they wilt, which will only take a minute, remove them and plunge them into a bowl of ice water. Drain the water, dry the greens, and throw into your blender. 


Here's the before and after blanching shots, so you can see just how much the greens compact. 

Next, roast your nuts/seeds. I threw them in a skillet over medium heat until they browned but you can also spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the oven until they brown, which should take about 10 minutes. 

Place the nuts/seeds, greens, Parmesan, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a blender and puree until uniformly smooth. You may need to add more olive oil to reach desired consistency.
And you're done. This pesto will stay fresh in the refrigerator up to 3 days if put it in a covered bowl but I prefer to freeze it. 
I spooned it into ice cube trays and let it freeze overnight before popping the cubes into a freezer bag, and according to the recipe, it should stay fresh for up to two months. 

But of course, I had to take it one step further to extend the freezer life so I vacuum sealed the pesto into individual servings of two pesto cubes. This way, when I'm alone for the night, I have the perfect amount of pesto for a little pasta dinner. Bon appetit! 


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