Recipe: Garden Greens Pesto


This versatile pesto can be made with silverbeet, kale, or any other garden green. 

Extracted from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen   Photo: Andrew Montgomery

It is not every day you meet someone who simultaneously makes you want to sit down and talk to them for hours, and also leap on the first train home, run to the vegetable garden and start making dinner. Jo, whom I met at the Barbican performing arts centre in London, is just such a person. She grows vegetables with such passion and energy, despite the limited space at her disposal.

This pesto is completely seasonal. Make it using whatever leafy greens you have, at any time of year. You can even use beetroot tops (beet greens) too. The only rule is to make sure the leaves are as young and tender as possible – otherwise you will be chewing for days.

Makes 1 x 400-ml/14-fl oz (US 12-fl oz) jar
Prep time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

80 g/3 oz (2–3 cups) green leaves, such as soft herbs, sorrel and Swiss chard in the summer; rocket (arugula), kale, parsley and Asian greens in the winter
50 g/2 oz ( cup) pumpkin seeds
3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
40 g/11⁄2 oz (1⁄2 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
120 ml/4 fl oz (1⁄2 cup) extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

METHOD

Place the leaves (greens) and pumpkin seeds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic and Parmesan and pulse a few more times. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

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Add the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, occasionally stopping it to scrape down the sides with the spatula. Stop when everything is evenly amalgamated and you have a thick, glossy, vibrant green sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into a warm, sterilized glass jar, pour a little more oil over the top and seal immediately. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks (or freeze in ice-cube trays).

Place the leaves (greens) and pumpkin seeds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Add the garlic and Parmesan and pulse a few more times. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

Add the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, occasionally stopping it to scrape down the sides with the spatula. Stop when everything is evenly amalgamated and you have a thick, glossy, vibrant green sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon into a warm, sterilized glass jar, pour a little more oil over the top and seal immediately. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks (or freeze in ice-cube trays)


Extracted from Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen, Phaidon, RRP AUD$49.95. Photography © Andrew Montgomery, 2019

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