With all the rain and overcast days that we have had recently the vegetable gardens are maturing very slowly to the point that the only items that have reached maturity at this point are the radishes and some of the kale that was started in the greenhouse.
I know, I am just being impatient, but I really miss fresh produce and items that we preserved from last season are pretty much gone. So what is a girl to do… well as Erma Bombeck stated — “When life gives you lemons make lemonade” or in my case, when your gardens produce lot of radishes find a way to use the beautiful greens.
The young greens enhanced green salads but the larger more mature leaves were a bit to tough and bitter for that purpose. I really didn’t want to throw the nutrition packed large bunches away so I decided to try making pesto out of them. The pesto turned out to be wonderful, it really perked up some early season meals. I tossed it with angle hair pasta for dinner one night and served it on black bean burgers another and froze the balance of the pesto for another day.
- 2 large bunches of radish leaves, stems removed
- 2-3 ounces hard cheese, such as pecorino or parmesan, shaved
- 1/2 cup of pinenuts, pistachios, or almonds (I use pinenuts in this batch)
- 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
- a short ribbon of fresh lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to get the consistency you like
- salt, pepper, ground chili pepper to taste
- Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender or mini-chopper, and process in short pulses until smooth. This produces a thick pesto; add more oil and pulse again to get the consistency you prefer.
- Taste, adjust the seasoning, and pack into an airtight container and refrigerate at least 4 hours prior to serving.
- Use within a few days (it will keep longer if you pour a thin layer of oil on the surface) or freeze.
- 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup fresh flat parsley
- 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, quartered
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
- Place basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice in a processor. Process until finely chopped.
- Add ricotta. Season with salt and pepper. Process until just combined.
- Serve pesto tossed through hot quinoa pasta, or as a dip.
Lemon basil pesto: Process 1 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, 1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 quartered garlic cloves and salt and pepper until well combined. Serve as a salad dressing or tossed through warm pasta.
Spinach and walnut pesto: Process 2 cups firmly packed young spinach leaves, 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, 3 quartered garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese and salt and pepper until well combined. Toss through warm pasta or spread on toasted bread.