Hi All, Oona here :)
The cold is here! Luckily for us, it’s the best time for greens; The cool weather makes them tender and so delicious, not to mention full of nutrition and all around just good for us. Chard, different kinds of Kales, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Beet Greens, Cilantro, Parsley, Escarole, Mizuna, Dandelion, not to mention Arugula and spinach.
But even greens enthusiast like me reach a point right about now when I feel like I am swimming in greens and need a break or at least a fresh method to prepare and consume them! That is when I discovered - kinda by accident - Leafy Green Pesto.
Pesto is one of my all time favorites; So alive, vibrant and is good on anything, one of my favorites being on salad. Basil Pesto is the classic but we are neck deep in dark leafy greens right now. I discovered the amazingness of leafy green pesto one night when I was digging through my veggie box brainstorming about what to make for dinner while wishing I had some fresh pesto to go on top of it. It suddenly struck me and I tossed pesto ingredients into the food processor along with a few bunches of leafy greens. The results made the rest of the wintry meal taste fresh and alive. Welcomed by all, it is now a staple in our house.
Here is some interesting nutritional information that keeps me plowing through my greens:
*The slightly bitter taste of many leafy greens is a good sign: It reflects their high levels of calcium.
*One ½-cup serving of dandelion greens contains 78 mg calcium, mustard greens have 55 mg calcium, assisting in Bone Health.
A study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2011 linked a higher intake of vegetables in the Brassica family (Kale, Mustard etc.) with a decreased risk of cancer in the ascending section of the colon.
*Greens are high in vitamins: A and C, Escarole especially is high in Vitamin B5.
*They are also a good source of several dietary mineralsincluding Iron, Potassium and Calcium, *Not to mention fiber and Chlorophyll.
*Kale and Mustard greens have been shown to lower cholesterol. The liver uses cholesterol to digest the fiber in the greens. According to a U.S. study in Nutrition Research.
*In particular kale, dandelion, mustard greens and Swiss Chard -are good sources of carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help filter high-energy light that may cause eye damage.
*A one-cup serving of raw escarole provides 1/10 of your daily needs for vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). B vitamins are water soluble, which means the body doesn’t store them, so we need to get enough each day.
Good thing this Leafy Green Pesto makes eating your greens a snap.
- 2 Bunch of Leafy Greens. I find 2 different kinds of greens gives the best flavor.
- 3/4 Cup of soaked cashews (Put cashews in a cup and fill with warm water for 10-15 minutes, I left mine soak overnight (by accident) and it turned out really good. You can substitute ½ Cup of cashew butter if you have it one hand.
- 3/4 Cup extra-virgin Olive Oil.
- Juice of ½ Lemon about 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Large clove of garlic
- Salt and Pepper to taste, about 2 pinches of each
For a spicy sauce- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
For a creamier sauce- Add ½ avocado
For thinner sauce- Add additional Olive oil or a tablespoon of water.
I n s t r u c t i o n s :
Wash Greens and remove the largest part of the stems, roughly chop.
Add Chopped greens to a food processor and blitz for 5 seconds.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until creamy, give it a good long blend.
Taste sauce- and add additional lemon or salt and pepper to taste.
Use immediately or store in a glass jar in the fridge for up to one week.
We put this sauce over everything: other vegetables, rice, noodles, beans, salad, eggs, steak etc.
Eat Well and keep warm.