Ahh the way summer offers us the opportunity to reinvent our days… and ways of thinking. Bedtimes are later, waterparks are open, camping (or just sleeping in the backyard in a homemade fort) becomes a possibility, and many of us change our eating habits. As a kid I used to spend weeks in the summer on my grandparents’ acreage in Nebraska. We would play outside all day, snacking on apples and pears pulled right from the trees, climbing them if necessary to get the perfect one. We also helped ourselves to mulberries, tomatoes, asparagus, peas, yard-long beans, zucchini and too many other vegetables to count.
There was just something so free-spirited about being a child, walking out the front door, into a vast garden and biting into an apple that was attached to a tree two seconds before. Talk about fresh! As long as we didn’t spoil our appetite for dinner we were in the clear. All that fruit fueled my siblings and I on our never ending mission to collect as many pinecones as we could from under the (seemingly) mile-long canopy of pine trees and trade them in for $1 a bucket. In retrospect, I’m thinking maybe my grandfather didn’t really need 30 buckets of pinecones, but was just looking to keep us busy (and useful). Genius plan! And now that I’ve got an 8 yr. old loitering around the house during the summer – useful inspiration ☺ As an adult I still love to eat fruits, vegetables, and other light food when the summer temperatures hit face-melting level. Eating a hot meal in 102 degrees is not my idea of fun.
As summer draws to a close and harvest season just around the corner, I find myself cherishing the last of my own summer garden. I realized that somehow I have made it halfway through the summer without making pesto. Whaaa? How did this happen? It is the flavor of summer. In my version, (below) basil gets down and boogies with crisp green kale and brussel sprouts for the ultimate trifecta of greens. When paired with rice noodles or zucchini “noodles” and caramelized onions and brussel sprouts, that’s some in yo’ face fresh.
You could even just eat the pesto as a salsa or serve it as a spread with Luke’s chips and crackers. And cucumber spears or tomato slices. A marriage of Luke’s Organic Protein and Fiber multi-grain chips and pesto enjoyed al fresco would make a terrific afternoon snack or aperitif. Bust out the hummus for additional protein and in your lazy hazy dayz of summer you could call it a meal. ☺
Kale Brussel Sprout Pesto
1 C shredded fresh organic brussel sprouts
1 medium organic onion, chopped fine
2 cups organic kale
4 cloves garlic
1 C fresh organic basil
1 handful fresh organic parsley
1/2 C organic walnuts (or sunflower seeds if you have nut allergies)
1/2 C organic olive oil
1/2 C parmesan cheese (omit for vegans)
organic rice noodles or spiraled organic zucchini
salt and pepper to taste
Pesto is truly a 5-minute recipe. Its as easy as tossing everything in the food processor and pulsing it until you get to your desired consistency. Some like it chunkier than others, and although it will never be truly smooth, the flavors are best married when all the ingredients are broken down to about the size of breadcrumbs.
Begin by caramelizing the onions and shaved fresh brussel sprouts in a small amount of olive oil or coconut oil. Low and slow is the key here, don’t rush your caramelizing. If you’re keeping the heat low enough it should take you about 20 minutes to cook down. That gives you the perfect amount of time to prep the rest of this dish.
Put the next seven ingredients (kale through cheese) in a food processor or blender and pulse until well blended.
Whether you’re using rice noodles or zucchini noodles, they only take a few minutes to cook. When they’re finished, time to toss several spoonfuls of the pesto with the noodles and top with the brussel sprout onion carmelization. Oh and dig in. ☺ This fresh dish is delicious fresh and hot, but is also crisp and refreshing as a chilled dish. You’ve got to love leftovers you can take to work or school for lunch and not have to worry about reheating. Behold the glory of green!