You may find you are short on time to cook this weekend if you are enjoying the beautiful weather. No worries – you can throw together this pesto in no time with items you most likely have in your pantry. Don’t limit yourself to just tossing it with pasta, although that is a perfectly wonderful way to enjoy it. You could also use it on sandwiches, a base for pizza, tossed with broccoli or cauliflower just to name a few.
While you can use all sorts of greens, seeds/nuts and cheese in pesto, I especially like this mix for a few reasons. I used the arugula, spicy asian greens, Spigarello broccoli rabe leaves and basil mix from last week’s CSA share which really provides a great flavor base (you could also use kale or another hearty green). It is paired with sunflower seeds, which are economical and the flavor stands up well to the spicy and bitter greens. I then used a mix of Sequatchie Cove Creamery aged Coppinger and Parmesan, but you can also use just Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice.
Get out and enjoy the sunshine…and then make this when you come in to eat! Enjoy!
Super Greens & Sunflower Seed Pesto
makes about 1-1/2 cups
Recipe notes: I always find pesto needs salt and although not traditional, a little lemon juice, too. Be sure to taste after adding the cheese as you may find you don’t need it.
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 3 medium garlic cloves
- 5-1/4 ounces (about 3-1/2 packed cups) of hearty greens, tough stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup Parmesan or other aged cheese of choice (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, if desired
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, if desired
- Place sunflower seeds in a single layer in a 12″ traditional skillet and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until most of the seeds are toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a large capacity food processor.
- Place the garlic cloves (with skins still on) in the same skillet and place over medium heat. Flip occasionally until the skins are starting to blacken and the garlic gives slightly when squeezed, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and when cool enough to handle, remove skins and add to the food processor.
- Add the greens to the food processor and process until mostly broken down, about 15-30 seconds. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the cheese. Taste, and add salt and lemon juice if needed. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.