Traditional pesto—the basil kind—is a staple in my kitchen. I frequently use it in place of tomato sauce on my pizzas, toss steamed green beans or broccoli with it to tszuj them up a little, and swirl it into mayo before smearing it over a turkey sandwich. It’s versatile and always worth purchasing, in my opinion.
It also happens to be something I make frequently, only in my homemade version I skip the basil and use whatever greens are lingering in my fridge in need of a produce paramedic. Usually this is a bunch of curly kale, but sometimes it’s a bunch of baby spinach leaves, a plastic clamshell full of arugula, or even a head of broccoli. A vegetable-based pesto is what I use for stirring into rice and risotto, pasta, and even scrambled eggs to boost the nutrients in my family’s diet. Fortunately, no seems to suspect that our beloved store-bought condiment has been replaced with a healthy homemade sauce that takes just five minutes and five ingredients to make.
The thing about pesto is that you don’t need a recipe to make it. Instead, you just follow a formula that looks like this:
Greens + Garlic + Olive Oil + Nuts/Seeds + Cheese
You may want to blanch your greens first, which is a great idea. I usually don’t, because I’m too lazy. You can also embellish with salt and pepper, and even lemon juice. You can make spicy by adding some red pepper flakes, although I don’t recommend doing that if you’re feeding it to the kids. Use the quantities that appeal to you, and have fun playing around with different combinations to see what you can come up with.
In the photo above I’ve used curly kale, garlic, olive oil, pumpkin seeds and parmesan cheese. It’s a family favourite and I never measure anything that I toss into the food processor. I’ve talked a lot about how I include kale in my kids’ diet and this method is probably one of their favourites.