When life gives you food sensitivities, make delicious food. That’s how the saying goes, right?
Well, a few months ago when I got tested for food sensitivities and made a complete dietary overhaul, I put my culinary skills to the test.
Along the way, I made some pretty delicious recipes, like Asian Beet Slaw, Zucchini Pasta, and Chocolate Coconut Mousse.
But I never got the chance to share this one with you. Seeing all the fresh beets during my latest trip to the farmers’ market reminded me that this recipe can’t wait.
If you like the rich flavor of pistachios, this might become a new favorite in your household.
Pistachio beet green pesto may have been born out of necessity (I really wanted pesto that day and knew I had to make my own with non-traditional ingredients), but it’s made it into regular rotation. The original version didn’t include garlic or cheese, but they definitely improve the overall flavor.
Pistachio Beet Green Pesto
- 1 bunch beet greens, blanched for 10 seconds (~1 cup when cooked + drained)
- 1 cup basil leaves, packed
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup pistachios, without the shells
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional; I prefer one made from raw milk)
- zest of 1 organic lemon
- juice of ½ organic lemon
- Wash beet greens and remove stems.
- Boil a small pot of water. Blanch greens for 10 seconds, remove from water and drain in a colander.
- If using garlic, whiz the clove in the food processor before adding other ingredients until minced.
- Add remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse until a chunky paste forms. (If you like a rustic pesto, save ¼ cup of pistachios to add near the end.)
Serving ideas for pesto:
- Sauce for zucchini noodles
- Topping for meat, fish, or poultry
- Addition to a cheese or antipasti platter
- Dip for vegetables (you can mix some with sour cream for a creamy dip)
- Spread on lettuce wraps or sandwiches
Why did I cook the greens?
Beet greens are very high in a compound called oxalic acid, which strongly binds to calcium and other minerals. Oxalic acid not only prevents your body from absorbing minerals, but when consumed in a large enough quantity, can lead to kidney stones. Rhubarb, spinach, and sorrel are also high in oxalic acid. That’s why your grandma insisted you NOT eat raw rhubarb. Luckily a good portion of oxalic acid is leached out with a quick blanch. (By good portion, I mean at least 55% according to the study I dug up from the Asian Journal of Food and Agro-Industry. Yes, I read stuff like that.)
Pistachio beet green pesto is a great way to fit more greens into your diet and not just because it tastes good. By combining greens with fat, you absorb the nutrients better. Truly a win-win. I hope you’ll give this a whirl!
In the comments below, tell me:
- Have you ever made pesto?
- What are you favorite ways to use it?
Until next week,
PS – You can read more about my food sensitivity journey if you’re interested. It started by saying farewell to one of my dear food friends, Mr. almond (or shall I say ex-friend).