by Solara Goldwynn, Hatchet & Seed –
Like most of my recipes, this one is extremely flexible. Depending on what you have in your fridge and pantry, plus what’s growing in your garden or abundant at the farmer’s market, this pesto will always be different and wonderful.
Some of the key ingredients: oil, something green, nuts or seeds, cheese (optional) and garlic.
When we think of pesto, we normally think basil. And yes, basil makes wonderful pesto! But so do many other greens. During the early spring months when the perennial greens are abundant, I’ll make nettle pesto with hemp hearts and sorrel pesto with almonds.
This time of year, when we have a large amount of arugula, kale and spinach growing in the garden, I’ll throw that into the food processor with sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic scapes* and a bit of salt.
*Garlic Scapes: If you have ever grown garlic you will know that a month or two before the garlic is ready to be pulled, the garlic sends up a shoot between the leaves that is called a scape. This crunchy green goodness is snapped off to encourage all the energy to flow into the bulb and to let the garlic begin to die back. If you don’t snap it off, the scape forms a bulb and eventually flower and seed. The garlic scape is delicious to chop up and eat in a variety of ways; it’s not as strong as eating a fresh garlic clove, but it is very flavourful. Some years if I’ve got an abundant garlic crop I will make straight garlic scape pesto, strong enough to scare any vampire and delicious enough to put on pizza, pasta, and freeze for winter consumption. You can find scapes at farmer’s markets this time of year, but it is always great if you can grow your own! (Some people even grow garlic in pots on a balcony, as it’s a fairly resilient plant.)
With these few basic ingredients the possibilities are endless for a nutritious, flavour-boosting pesto that adds to any meal!
¼ cup olive oil
Large bunch of greens (arugula, kale, parsley, mustard greens, basil etc!)
¼ cup nuts or seeds
(hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, etc!)
pinch of salt
3 to 4 garlic cloves or several garlic scapes
¼ cup parmesan cheese (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender. Serve on pizza, homemade crackers, pasta, or add to soups and eggs. Experiment and enjoy!