trio of spring veggie pestos

While I love traditional pesto, these spring green pestos lighten things up a bit. One made from asparagus, one with broccoli + basil, and a third with arugula + mint. This is not your Italian grandmother’s pesto, if you are actually lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother. You’re also not limited to coating pasta with these flavor-packed sauces.

arugula mint pesto

I stuffed a flank steak with the asparagus pesto. The flavors were incredible, though it did sort of ooze out when we sliced it. Not that that’s such a terrible thing…IMG_6412

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Broccoli pesto is fantastic with cheese ravioli. Sprinkle with a few toasted pine nuts. Quickie dinner.

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broccoli pesto

Arugulua mint. Arugula is a peppery green. Also called rocket, it pairs nicely with mint.  To make a little crostini appetizer, pop it on some slices of toasted French bread. Top with fresh mozzarella & place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling.

crostini with arugula mint pesto

Other ideas for re-purposing pesto:
Dollop into soups, particularly bean soups, chili, minestrone, or creamy squash soups.
Make pinwheels by spreading pesto over tortillas, topping with deli meat and rolling. Slice.
Grilled zucchini pesto rolls. Grill long slices of zucchini. Spread on the pesto and roll up.
Chicken and pesto paninis. Spread pesto over slices of bread, top with cheese and cooked chicken. Cook with a panini maker (or just a non-stick skillet.)
Pesto & tomato tart. Allow puff pastry to come to room temperature. (I like Pepperidge Farm brand.) Roll into a rectangle. Spread pesto over the inner part of the rectangle. Top with shredded cheese. Add halved cherry tomatoes. Maybe some crispy bacon if you’re in the mood. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes.

asparagus pesto

Asparagus pesto
¾ to 1 lb asparagus, trimmed
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt

Broccoli pesto
¾ to 1 lb broccoli florets
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup basil, stems removed
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt

Arugula mint pesto
5 cups (5 oz) argulua
¾ fresh mint leaves
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt

For the broccoli and asparagus, cook in boiling water just until fork tender, about 4 minutes.  Remove and immediately place in ice water to stop the cooking process.

In a food processor or blender, combine veggies, garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, and parmesan cheese and blend until smooth. Add in lemon juice and drizzle in olive oil until the pesto has reached the consistency that you prefer. Season with salt and pepper. These pestos can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for about a week. They can also be frozen (really easily in ice cube trays).

asparagus pesto

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