Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Healthier Pesto Makeover - with Mustard Greens and Roasted Garlic!

I am a pesto addict. Basil, olive oil, a little bit of cheese. It's like God on a baguette/pasta/chicken/anything.

When I was in college and invincible (4 long years ago), I developed the most awful habit of grabbing a container of Buitoni pesto (still, to this day, the TASTIEST brand of pesto, in my opinion) and scooping it up with tortilla chips. Just straight. Pesto overload and my mouth loved it. I could eat the entire container in one sitting if I wanted to. BAD HABIT. Don't attempt at home. Don't let it happen to you.

Long gone are the days of dipping Tostitos into pesto (that sounds kind of gross now). As I'm quickly aging to a ripe 25 years, I'm looking for healthier alternatives to my favorites. And with all of the olive oil, salt, and cheese that can be found in grocery store pesto, it's time I give my gal pal pesto a little makeover.

I picked up this little recipe from Martha Stewart Living. It's her Mustard Green and Roasted Garlic Pesto. A pepperier mustard green replaces basil. And - now this is brilliant - Martha uses a heck of a lot of roasted garlic to replaces 75% of the oil you'd use in traditional pesto. It creates a creamy, hearty finish without the fat of oil and cheese.

To make this weekday friendly, I roasted my garlic on the weekend. I scraped it from the garlic skins and kept it on a tupperware overnight. You could make the entire pesto on the weekend and toss it onto whatever you'd like - pasta, chicken, fish - for an even faster weeknight meal. I served mine with Trader Joe's Garlic and Basil Linguine. That stuff is too hard to say NO! to.

And it was boyfriend approved.

TRT: 1 hour 15 min.

Here's what you need:
  • 2 medium heads garlic
  • 1 1/4 ounces almonds, toasted and roughly chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated (1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 large bunch mustard greens, stems discarded, roughly chopped (4 cups)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Here's what you do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap garlic in foil, and roast until flesh is completely tender, about 1 hour. Let cool completely. Squeeze garlic from skins, discarding skins.
  2. Pulse garlic, almonds, oil, cheese, mustard greens, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and 2 tablespoons water in a food processor until a thick paste forms.

"Can I have some, too, mom?"

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