A few years ago, my friend Jessy came for a visit and brought me pizza as a gift. I was so excited to eat it, I barely waited until she was out the door before I started warming the oven. For days after her visit, I daydreamed about the delicious pesto topping, the mixture of caramelized onions and sun-dried tomatoes, the rich goat cheese. I wanted more, and Moose & Sadie’s, the restaurant where she worked at the time, was too far for me to just stop in to get some. So, with the memory of delicious pizza firmly in my memory, I set out to recreate the pizza. The results were delicious, but there was one terrific benefit I had not anticipated – the deep green pesto turned out to be a versatile way to add rich flavor to lots of things. Plus, it has the added bonus of giving me another way to consume a large quantity of vitamin rich dark leafy greens without feeling like I was on the rabbit fast-track.
Deep green pesto uses a combination of basil and a dark leafy green. I’ve tried this recipe with both spinach and kale, and have decided that while I liked the spinach version, I preferred the kale. In order to lighten it up and make it Sophie friendly (no nuts or dairy), I’ve left out the parmesan and pine nuts that might be traditionally used in a pesto.
There are lots of ways to put this pesto to good use (calories vary based on other ingredients, duh):
1. Pizza: Make your favorite (or buy your favorite) crust, spread a layer of deep green pesto, top with caramelized onions, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese. Bake and devour.
2. Baked Quesadilla: Consider this loosely named. Using Flat-out flatbread or large tortilla, spread a layer of pesto on one half, add some caramelized onions, goat cheese, fold over and bake. Cut into fourths, top with diced tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic. Devour this one too.
3. Mashed Potatoes: Stir a healthy scoop of pesto into mashed potatoes. Taste often, then serve whatever is left to your family (assuming they’ll eat GREEN).
Deep Green Pesto
8 oz. spinach or kale (stems removed from kale)
1/4 c. fresh basil
1 T. lemon juice
½ t. kosher salt
15 turns freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic (or 1/3 c. garlic scapes)
1 T. water
2 T. olive oil
In a large pot of boiling, salted water, quickly blanch greens for 1-2 minutes then drain and transfer to ice water. After cooled, drain and set aside.
In a food processor, add greens and all remaining ingredients until smoothed and well combined.
Estimated Calories: 76 cal/serving
Print it: Deep Green Pesto