Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Basil Chard Pesto

I had some swiss chard that I wanted to incorporate into dinner tonight, but I wanted something other than the ordinary saute treatment I usually give it.  My friend, Gabrielle who works with me at the deli, and is an awesome vegetarian cook, told me that she had recently used chard in pesto!  I thought this was a great idea, so I decided to give it a try!  I had some basil as well, so I decided that it would be good with the chard to make the pesto taste more flavorful.  I combined the leaves with walnuts, instead of the classic pine nuts, because I had a bunch on hand, as well as some garlic, lemon and olive oil, which is what I would consider all "classics" in basil pesto.  However, tonight I wanted to make the dish vegan, so I decided that nutritional yeast and white miso would be added to this pesto instead of any sort of cheese.  And I did not miss the cheese at all!  In fact, this non-dairy version I liked better than the usual!  I tossed my pesto with some whole wheat fettuccini, more toasted walnuts for crunch and protein, and some fresh roma tomatoes from my Dad's garden, and I had a satisfying meal!  Chard in pesto was a great idea, and I have Gabrielle to thank for sharing it with me!  Try this summer pesto out while chard and basil are abundant! 

Whole Wheat Fettuccini with Basil and Chard Pesto, Toasted Walnuts, and Roma Tomatoes
Serves 3

1/2 cup swiss chard leaves, packed
1/2 fresh basil packed
1 cup walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp white miso
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
water as needed
8 oz whole wheat fettuccini
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
6 roma tomatoes, diced

In a food processor, combine chard, basil, walnuts, yeast, miso, garlic, oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper to taste and process until smooth, adding a water to smooth out, and more if a thinner consistency is desired. Set pesto aside. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water, and when done cooking, reserve about 1/3 cup of pasta water, and drain pasta. Place pasta back in the pot, and combine with the pesto, walnuts, and tomatoes, along with enough water to thin out pesto to a smooth consistency on the pasta. Place on a serving plate and serve!


Anonymous said...

Absolutely love this!

May Ling Wu said...

I want to try a pesto with another item other than basil but a bit timid. Have you ever tried with argula?

Amy said...

I haven't tried arugula, but it would give it a nice peppery flavor. I also like mint and cilantro in pesto...