Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: Beyond basil — Easy farm pestos (with recipes) | SteamboatToday.com

Northwest Colorado Food Coalition: Beyond basil — Easy farm pestos (with recipes)


Hethir Rodriguez
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

Summer is such an exciting time for enjoying food with friends and family. With our short and dramatic growing season here in the Rockies, we get an abundant harvest of flavors and colors in a condensed amount of time. 

Here on the farm, I am constantly thinking of ways to create food items that can help to extend the enjoyment and experience of our summer harvest, while at the same time using the whole plant. Many of the roots you enjoy, like carrots and beets, come with nutritious leaves on top that are just as delicious as their counterparts.

There are two ways I like to use the whole plant. One is by making pestos, which preserve in the freezer fantastically, or making hummus, which can be more creative than just the regular bean dip. This week, let’s focus on pesto, a gourmet food that takes less than five minutes to make. 

Pesto is your secret ingredient when you want to seem like you know what you are doing in the kitchen. It can make any simple meal feel fancy and special. But did you know that you can make pesto out of lots of other greens, not just basil? One of the things I love about making farm pestos is that it’s a great way to use the whole vegetable. 

For instance, carrot tops are actually more nutritious than the roots. But what do you do with them? Make pesto! 

Want to impress, try out arugula pesto. Looking for something to try with fish? How about cilantro or fennel frond pesto. A great go-to for topping pasta is a kale spinach pesto with oregano. 

You can also make each pesto unique by addinf your choice of nuts, cheese and oils. Here are my basic pesto recipes which allow you to switch out any ingredients:

Nuts

Pine nuts, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews or walnuts. 

Greens

Basil, kale, spinach, arugula, cilantro, carrot tops, parsley and fennel fronds. 

Here are my two go to recipes:

Pesto with parmesan

  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 to 3 cups packed of greens
  • ¼ cup nuts
  • ¼ cup oil (olive, avocado or sunflower are my favorites)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice from ½ a lemon if you want to keep it green in color 
  • Add more oil or water until the desired consistency is achieved 

Dairy-free pesto

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 to 3 cups packed greens
  • ⅔ cup macadamia nuts (best for dairy-free)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice from ½ a lemon if you want to keep it green in color 
  • Add more oil or water until the desired consistency is achieved 

Now that you have made your pesto — you have a couple of options. Freeze it in ice cube trays to enjoy through the rest of the season or use it right away on some of these item.

Use as a pasta sauce, spread on a slice of bread, as a pizza sauce, top soups, mix with rice or cauliflower rice, as a vegetable dip, salad dressing or top roasted vegetables. Mixed with a halved spaghetti squash is also quite nice.

Hethir Rodriguez own’s Bee Grateful Farm with her husband Jason. Find out more at beegratefulfarm.com


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