Pesto is a simple, versatile accompaniment to almost any bread, grain, meat or vegetable dish. Often it is made with basil, but greens like arugula, kale, parsley and even wild greens like dead nettle and chickweed can make wonderful, distinctive pestos. This recipe is one from cooking instructor Vera Fabian at our Spring Food & Garden Workshop in partnership with RambleRill Farm.
vegan option, vegetarian, gluten-free
Makes almost 2 cups
2 cups packed arugula leaves
1 cup olive oil
1 big clove garlic
zest from 1-2 lemons
1/3 cup toasted walnuts or other nut
1/2-1cup grated parmesan, pecorino or other sharp cheese (optional)
salt and fresh ground pepper
Mortar & Pestle: Pound garlic and salt to make a paste. Gradually add arugula leaves to make a paste. Add in nuts and continue to pound. Mix in olive oil and then lemon zest and cheese. Taste for salt and pepper.
Food Processor: Process all ingredients until you reach your desired consistency.
Variations: Try other Spring greens or herbs in place of or in combination with arugula. As mentioned above, parsley, Blanched nettles or dead nettles, cilantro are all delicious.
Use this pesto as a sauce for whole grain salads, roasted vegetables, blanched or boiled vegetables, homemade pasta or pizza, or over meat.