Tomato Pesto

I haven’t made this in ages, but now that I’ve reminded my taste buds, I’ll be making it again soon.  This is a twist on traditional pesto, with a base of tomato.  It’s so easy to make, and works well on pasta, spaghetti squash, or steamed julienned zucchini, which is pictured.

What you need:

1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and chopped (use pumpkin seeds if you don’t like pine nuts)

1  small can of tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup grated parmesan

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

1. Mix all the ingredients together.  If you have time, let it sit for about an hour.  If not, serve it on top of your favourite pasta or one of the other suggestions above.

 

Cilantro Pesto

Often, when I don’t know what to cook, I open up my Rebar cookbook.  I’ve tried a lot of the recipes, loved a lot of them, but only blogged a few.  This pesto is a nice change from the usual, with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, lime juice and jalapeno peppers.  I served it tossed with some baked spaghetti squash, but it would also be great on regular pasta. This recipe is half the original, and makes about 2/3 cup of pesto, plenty for a few people.

What you need:

1 bunch clean cilantro, stems chopped off

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped with seeds

1 garlic clove

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons grated parmesan or asiago cheese

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

What you do:

1.  Toast the pumpkin seeds slightly in a dry frying pan.  They toast really fast, so just turn the heat to medium-low and shake them around every half a minute or so.

2.  Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor.  I just have a little handheld one, and that works fine. Puree until everything is chopped to little bits.

3.  Pour in the olive oil, a little at a time, until it is combined.

Ready to go!

Pepita Pesto on Spaghetti Squash

I told a friend that I’d make a green meal for St. Patrick’s Day.  I wanted to use natural greens (no food colouring), so here’s what I came up with – green pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, in basil pesto.  I chose spaghetti squash because it’s nice and light.

What you need:

1 spaghetti squash

1/4 cup  toasted pepitas (otherwise known as pumpkin seeds)

3/4 – 1 cup basil

1/2 clove of garlic

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre brand)

olive oil

salt

pepper

What you do:

1.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and bake for 30-40 minutes on 400F, or until you can remove the squash easily with a fork in stringy strands.

2.  Toast the pepitas lightly.

3. Place the pepitas in the food processor and grind well.

4.  Add basil, garlic, salt and a bit of pepper to the pepitas and add as much olive oil  as you need to make it smooth.  Then add the parmesan and give it one last whirl.

5.  Remove the squash from its shell with a fork.  Top with pesto.

I’m serving it with peas, but that’s just to add more green for St. Paddy’s Day!