February 28, 2013

Parsley-Walnut Pesto

fresh in the bowl
Have you tried pesto with your kids? Parents tell me their kids dig right into fresh pestos of all kinds, with their unassuming, smooth-textured flecks of green. What a cool, sophisticated way to bring veggies to the table!

I love a good basil pesto, but it's kind of expensive to make. Putting pine nuts into my grocery cart feels like I'm buying a little satchel of diamonds. Basil can be a bit of a splurge, too, if you don't have it in the garden.

Parsley and walnuts, though, are (let's agree) excusable expenses, and I've discovered that a rich and garlicky parsley-walnut pesto works magic on pasta, chicken, sandwiches, and crudites. Fear not if your family is lukewarm on parsley: even with two (densely nutritious!) cups of the herb, the pesto doesn't scream PARSLEY. I adapted my recipe from this one on Simply Recipes (I actually reduced the amount of garlic she calls for, so pigs must be flying.) It's the best I've tried, and Darwin agrees.

Since the pureed leaves of parsley don't turn brown when they oxidize, your pesto still looks verdant on day two. Parsley wins again.

Parsley Pesto
makes about 1.5 cups

2 cups chopped curly parsley
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (unprocessed "shake cheese" is OK)
2 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste (sparingly; Parmesan is a salty cheese)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and process until smooth.

Enjoy immediately, or refrigerate for a day or two.

whole wheat macaroni with parsley pesto, baked sweet potato fries, apple slices, garlicky kale

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