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Interchangeable Greens and Nuts Pesto! {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Vegan}

Updated: Jun 17

This pesto recipe is the perfect foundation to let your imagination go wild on the different varieties of pesto! This versatile recipe makes it easy to sub in whatever greens your heart desires! The 1:1 ratio of basil to greens is just perfect! Plus, this recipe also allows you to sub in your favorite nut of choice! The flavors are so great that you don’t even miss the Parmesan!

There is a story behind this recipe! Last summer, when we were in the heat of selling micro-greens, one of the stores we sold at suggested that I set up a stand to showcase our micro-greens and how to cook with them. I thought pesto would be just the ticket because you can use it on so many things! Pea Shoots were one of the main crops that we sold. They have a great sweetness to them and are perfect for pesto. However, I tried making a pesto recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Small Plates and Sweet Treats and my husband claimed that is tasted too much like peas (he’s not a big fan of peas). So I thought why not add in some basil to soften it up a bit and make it taste more like a traditional pesto.

My mother-in-law came over, with aprons in hand, to help me with the pesto and hand out samples. Not only did she love the pesto, but so did the customers! People liked it so much that they asked if they could just purchase the pesto instead of having to make it themselves:). I knew this recipe was a winner!

Since then I have been using this as my go-to pesto recipe! For the longest time, I’ve struggled to find a pesto that had the right amount of basil and olive oil. This combination, with the added greens, just works! Think kale, spinach, arugula, parsley or even pea shoots! Maybe even think outside the box and try dandelion or beet greens?? For the recipe I made this time around I used arugula and even my greens-weary husband really like it! The pasta may have helped;). For the samples and for the recipe below I used almonds, but other nuts would work great too!

We are not growing micro-greens any more but I sure do miss eating them! I am planning to grow some for our own use this spring and I highly encourage you to do the same. You can plant them right in your window-seal. They are fast and easy to grow and so nutritious! They have up to 40 times the amount of nutrients than the full grown plant!

I hope this recipe becomes your new go-to pesto and you have fun experimenting with fun and new combinations! If you have any other unusual pesto greens ideas I would love to know about it in the comments below!

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. -Isaiah 43: 18-19 (NIV)

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Interchangeable Greens and Nuts Pesto! {Whole30, Paleo, GF, Vegan}

This pesto recipe is the perfect foundation to let your imagination go wild on the different varieties of pesto! This versatile recipe makes it easy to sub in whatever greens your heart desires! The 1:1 ratio of basil to greens is just perfect! Plus, this recipe also allows you to sub in your favorite nut of choice! The flavors are so great that you don’t even miss the Parmesan!

Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack

Keyword: Arugula, Basil, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Kale, Paleo, Pea Shoots, Pesto, Vegan, Whole30

Ingredients

  1. 1 clove garlic, peeled

  2. 1/3 cup raw whole almonds, or other nut of choice

  3. 1 cup fresh basil leaves, moderately packed

  4. 1 cup greens of choice (arugula, spinach, kale, parsley, pea shoots, ect.), moderately packed

  5. 1/2 tsp sea salt

  6. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

  7. 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  8. squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions


Place garlic on a dry pan on medium-high heat to toast both sides for a minute or two, being careful not to burn garlic (let your nose be your guide) to mellow out the garlic a bit and add a toasty flavor.


Place toasted garlic, almonds, or nut of choice, in a food processor and pulse until nuts and garlic are finely chopped.


Add in basil and green of choice, salt and pepper, and process until pasty, scraping down the sides as needed (this may take a little bit).


Add the olive oil in a slow stream while the food processor is running and process until a smooth pesto forms, scraping down the sides as needed.*


Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.


Place pesto in desired dish/jar and add a squeeze of lemon to keep it fresh and give it a zesty flavor!


Enjoy with your favorite pasta, mix with some mayo for a pesto aioli, or put a dollop on top of chicken pork or a fried egg!


Store any left-overs in the fridge in an air-tight container with some extra virgin olive oil on top to cover the pesto.

Notes

*You may need to add more olive oil depending on what you’re using the pesto for and or how you pack your basil and other greens. For using pesto as a sauce (i.e. on pasta) I like to make the pesto a little more on the thin side. For a spread (i.e. on a sandwich) I like the pesto a little more on the thick side. This recipe makes a pesto more on the thick side. Recipe adapted from Small Plates & Sweet Treats by Aran Goyoaga of Cannelle et Vanille

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