Garden Pesto Pasta

If your garden is overflowing with basil, green beans, and potatoes this is the perfect recipe. Do you have chickweed growing (unintentionally) in your garden? Don’t throw it in the compost! It makes the most delicious, earthy pesto. This pasta whips up in the time it takes to boil the potatoes, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal. Inspired by Food52.

Garden Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If your garden is overflowing with basil, green beans, and potatoes this is the perfect recipe. Do you have chickweed growing (unintentionally) in your garden? Don’t throw it in the compost! It makes the most delicious, earthy pesto. This pasta whips up in the time it takes to boil the potatoes, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal.

I am all about one pot meals, you guys. Anything to make dinner easier while working a full-time job and parenting at two and half year old. We could all use more recipes that are easy, quick, and tasty. Technically I did use a food processor to make the pesto but the potatoes, green beans, and pasta all boil in the same pot!

The best part of this meal though? Much of it was grown from the garden! Free food!! The basil and chickweed came from my garden, and the green beans from my stepmom’s. I tried to use my own potatoes I grew but I dug a few up and they weren’t quite ready yet. I’m growing Magic Molly potatoes which are purple inside and out! They have a rich and nutty flavor that I just can’t get enough of. My grandpa used to grown them and when I found them at our local nursery I had to get some. Fun fact: As a child I used to sneak away and dig up my grandpa’s “treasures” well before they were ready because I just couldn’t contain my excitement. It appears as if I have not outgrown this. There is just something so exciting about digging up potatoes! Is it just me?

Garden Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If your garden is overflowing with basil, green beans, and potatoes this is the perfect recipe. Do you have chickweed growing (unintentionally) in your garden? Don’t throw it in the compost! It makes the most delicious, earthy pesto. This pasta whips up in the time it takes to boil the potatoes, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal.

Garden Pesto Pasta


Garden Pesto Pasta
By

If your garden is overflowing with basil, green beans, and potatoes this is the perfect recipe. Do you have chickweed growing (unintentionally) in your garden? Don’t throw it in the compost! It makes the most delicious, earthy pesto. This pasta whips up in the time it takes to boil the potatoes, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal.


Ingredients
  • 1 large red or Yukon Gold potato, peeled and quartered and cut into ¼ inch thick slices
  • ¼ lb fresh green beans, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 8 oz dry thin spaghetti (if using regular spaghetti increase cooking time)
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed fresh chickweed, removing any thick stems and cleaning thoroughly (or basil, spinach, arugula, or other greens)
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Heaping ¼ cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • ¾ tsp table salt
  • ⅓ cup vegan shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garnish of vegan parmesan (optional)
Instructions

  1. Place the sliced potatoes in a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil then salt; continue to boil for 5 minutes then add the pasta and green beans. Boil for an additional 5-8 minutes until all the vegetables and pasta are cooked. Drain and return to pot.
  2. While the pasta cooks: to a food processor add the basil, greens, garlic, pine nuts, miso, salt, and cheese. Pulse until coarse and grainy. With the processor running drizzle in the olive oil and process until mixed thoroughly.
  3. Stir the pesto into the cooked pasta and veggies. Serve hot and topped with vegan parmesan!

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Yield: 3-4 servings
Garden Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If your garden is overflowing with basil, green beans, and potatoes this is the perfect recipe. Do you have chickweed growing (unintentionally) in your garden? Don’t throw it in the compost! It makes the most delicious, earthy pesto. This pasta whips up in the time it takes to boil the potatoes, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal.

Chickweed Pesto

Regardless of anyone’s dietary motivations, the healthiest lifestyle is the one that’s most compassionate.
— Steve-O

The truthest of truths from none other than Steve-O. Yep, you read that right. Anyway, another truth? Whoever came up with pesto is a god. This is a fact. Whoever first decided to make it with chickweed...also a god.  

Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto
Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto

Forget everything you know about pesto. You don't know jack unless you've made pesto with chickweed pulled from the earth yourself. It sounds harsh, but this is absolute. When I'm picking the chickweed, Basil comes crawling over like, "What about me? You're forgetting me!" and I'm all, "Get outta the way, Basil, geesh. I don't need you! I don't want you." You might be asking, "Why chickweed?" That's so weird, it's...a weed! Yes I know, but I will seriously be cultivating it henceforth my friends. Here's Bob, cultivating chickweed with me. Or maybe he's just laying there watching me...

Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto

Chickweed pesto is the best thing I've ever had in my entire life. This is not a joke or an over inflation. It would absolutely be my last meal on Earth. I dreamt about it last night. I've been in complete distress about what to do when winter hits and I no longer have access to the weedy greens. Is there a chickweed farm somewhere on this planet? Can I buy it and have it shipped to me? These are questions that surely need answering if I am to calm myself of my pesto craze before the snow flies. 

I made it again the other night and literally hid the evidence so my brother wouldn't find out and eat it all. He's a man obsessed too. It's all he talks about now. Unfortunately, he asked what I had for dinner and I couldn't lie because you know I am the world's worst liar. You guys, the boy flung off his shoes and ran to the kitchen...where he proceeded to eat my beloved chickweed pesto.

Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto

There is something so incredibly earthy about this pesto. Here's the best way I can describe it. Okay, so you know when you buy the seriously horrendous pre-ground nutmeg in those little spice bottles at the supermarket? Make it the value brand too. Okay, now remember the first time you tried freshly ground nutmeg? From an actual little nutmeg pod (who knew right)? All other pestos = value brand pre-ground nutmeg. Chickweed pesto = nutmeg freshly ground by the divine hands of Santa Marta (patron saint of cooks). Yep, that's about all you need to know. Also, if you've never had freshly ground nutmeg....OH MY GOD, stop buying the pre-ground stuff already. I know, I know, I've totally been there but if there's one spice you must, must, must grind yourself surely it is nutmeg. Everyone knows that, I'm not just being bossy. I swear. Okay, maybe a little bit. Sorry.

So gracefully make your way, nay, run outside and gather up all the goddamn chickweed you can people! You'll need less than you think. Four cups is essentially four handfuls. Find it wherever you can. Your neighbors will love your for weeding their garden, no need to even ask. It likes to grow in moist soil and/or shady areas, especially places that have been tilled, like gardens (according to my Dad). I harvest it from a part of my yard that was tore up by tire tracks this spring (not by me). 

Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto

And now, because I feel I must...please make sure you know what you are harvesting. If you're unsure, don't be a dolt and eat it (like me). Here's a link to all things chickweed. Also, be sure to wash it real good...erm...especially if you have furry animals around. 

Full disclosure: You may hate this. Wait, wait! Only if you're pretty indifferent to pesto to begin with (like Todd). Then don't even go here, this is some hardcore pesto. Todd told me it tasted like a freshly cut lawn and he's weirded out by the fact that I got it from the yard. He's wrong though, don't listen to his lies. It's heaven on Earth. 

Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts lend a softer richness than the usual pinenuts. Plus, you won't go broke making this pesto. Miso and soy sauce are added for complexity and really bring this pesto to the next level with a boost of umami flavor! 

Chickweed Pesto

Makes about 4 cups

Notes: This makes a lot of pesto so if you feel so inclined, cut the recipe in half. But I recommend just freezing the leftovers for use later. Feel free to use whatever combination of nuts you like here. 

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chickweed, washed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled 
  • 1 Tbsp. miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • dash of ground black pepper

Instructions

Combine everything in a food processor and process a few minutes, until smooth. Mix into hot, cooked pasta! Or stir into quinoa, millet, couscous or stuff it into mushrooms! 

Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto
Produce On Parade - Chickweed Pesto

German Word of The Day

Chickweed --> Vogelmiere (fogel-meer) - Vogel means bird! 

Good Deed of The Day

Did you there's a tiger named Tony who's been enslaved as a truck stop attraction for the past 10 years, where he's confined to a 3,200 square foot cage? WTF, right?! Let's try and not be the armpit stubble of the world and allow this to continue. 

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Wondering what to do with one pound of sad strawberries and a bunch of basil that's seen better days? Don't throw it away! Make this jam. Of course, I'd prefer if you used, errrr, fresher ingredients. But hey, I do what I can with what I have...and what I have had was some less than stellar produce awaiting judgement day in the fridge. Except the basil. Never put fresh basil in the fridge.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce I love strawberry jam. However, we never have any on hand. I buy that Kirkland signature strawberry puree from Costco that's totally amazeballs. Yet, I eat it all up too quick.  Like freakishly quick, and it's a massive jar. Anyway, Costco is about an hour away so we don't go on a regular basis. In addition, I flat out refuse to buy any jam at the regular grocery store because, well, to put it lightly...I'm a jam snob.

Growing up, my grandparents had a hugely vast vegetable & fruit farm garden full of fresh currents, rows upon rows of an assortment of raspberries, and gobs of plump strawberries. Believe me when I tell you, and this is very important...there is nothing like the taste of a freshly picked strawberry from a real ass garden. You don't know life if you haven't had one, so if that's the case get yourself to a U-Pick farm. Right now! There's no time to waste! Anywho, we used to make oodles upon oodles upon oodles of perfect jam with these home grown berries. And that's why I'm a jam snob. I'm ruined, essentially. 

I tried to make chia seed jam not too long ago (while in a state of panic due to our lack of jam). I didn't post the recipe because...I did not enjoy it. It had an odd texture (surprise!) and it wasn't sweet enough and it was just a plain insult to jams everywhere. It's still in my fridge and is made with Alaskan-mountain blueberries picked by yours truly last fall. It's all yours. So gross. 

I've been talking a lot about jam. This is because I simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of jelly. OMG, don't even get me started on that crap. Preserves, yeah, they're okay but I don't like my jam chunky, you know? But, live and let live. So, jam it is for me. NEVER JELLY.

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

If you're try to impress someone or just up your jam game, this is the one for you. It's a delicious, no-canning necessary strawberry jam infused with fresh basil, vanilla and cinnamon. I couldn't stop licking the spoon. 

Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce

Makes about 8 oz. 

Notes: For more of a sauce, blend the strawberry mixture until smooth. If you'd like more of a jam, blend less. 

  • 1 lb. strawberries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped and packed
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 

In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients over low heat. Produce On Parade - Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Continuously stir until the sugar has dissolved and it looks like the strawberries are floating in water.  Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce   Remove from heat and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth for a sauce-like consistency or leave a bit chunky for a more jam-like texture. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce Transfer back to the pan and over high heat, stir continuously until it reaches the mixture reaches 220 degrees (about 5 minutes). Once it's reached 220 degrees, stir continuously for another 5 minutes. Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce If you don't have a candy thermometer, that's okay. Once the mixture is transferred from the blender back to the pot, it should cook on high from start to finish for about 10 minutes total.  Pour into a jar and allow to rest at least 15 minutes before covering and placing in the fridge to chill. Chill overnight. Store in the fridge and consume within one week.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceOh, that's what I'm talking about.  Strawberry Basil Jam or SauceYes, I always match my nails to my jam. Also, there was a little bit that didn't fit in the jar...and...well, I ate it all. Straight up. Treat yo' self! Strawberry Basil Jam or Sauce[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/29271982" params="color=73a89a&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

German Word of The Day: Jam --> Marmelade (pronounced: marma-lawd-eh) I know about orange marmalade, but who knew?!

Good Deed of The Day: All I have to say is WTF. Please sign this petition to stop a live bull from being set on fire for the entertainment of people. Grotesque animal cruelty shouldn't be tolerated, regardless of any culture it's involved in. Period. It only takes 5 seconds. You'll see my signature there! 

[yumprint-recipe id='103']