Arugula Pesto Pasta

If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

I am so thrilled to be a part of a local, organic CSA that's only eight miles from my house! We used to get those Full Circle boxes. It's an organic CSA that's packaged up here in Alaska but includes produce from about five northwestern states; you can also get some far-reaching produce like avocados from Mexico. However, their quality seemed to be going downhill and I really wanted the produce to be actually local. Where I live, in the Matanuska Valley in Alaska, thrives a rich agricultural community and I knew I could find a great CSA out here. That's when I found Sun Circle Farms (not an ad or sponsor, just excited)! I even have a friend who works there, and it feels great supporting a small, hometown farm. 

Included in the first box were Japanese turnips, a ton of spring salad mix, rhubarb, bok choy, chives, and a ton of arugula. Using the spring salad mix for salads (Todd and I both eating one a day for a week, go greens!), I had to think of something else to do with the arugula other than using it in a salad. That's when I thought of this pesto! You can seriously use pretty much any veggie that is green for pesto. I even have a recipe on the blog broccoli pesto. Yup. 

Unfortunately, Todd hates pesto. I know right!? Seriously, who is this man!? I have never in my life heard anyone who claims to be anything other than beyond ecstatic about the stuff, myself included. Oh well, more pesto for me! #pestoisthebesto

Also, If you participate in a CSA, you're probably getting pretty similar produce as I am. Check out my social media to see what I've been making with mine for some great ideas! Sometimes it's hard to use up all that fresh produce before the next provisions roll around!

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Arugula Pesto Pasta

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Published 06/21/2017

If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry penne pasta
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • Heaping ¼ cup walnuts
  • 8 oz fresh arugula (about 4 packed cups)
  • Small handful of fresh basil (about ¼ packed cup) (optional)
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • ⅓ cup vegan mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta, cook according to package until al dente; drain and set aside.
  2. Process the garlic in a food processor for about ten seconds; add the walnuts and process until finely chopped. Add the arugula and in batches, as much as the bowl can hold, and process until smooth. Process in the miso paste, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, and pepper. With the processor running drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Taste and add additional pepper and salt as needed.
  3. Stir the pesto into the cooked pasta. There will be about ½ cup of pesto leftover. It’s great to add to the leftovers when reheated or save to coat boiled potatoes, use in stuffed mushrooms, or for vegan pesto scrambled tofu. Yum!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

I just couldn't resist throwing up a photo of Oliver eating his first solid foods meal. Well, if rice cereal is considered 'solid' ;) He is in full-swing teething mode; two toppers and two bottom-dwellers should be popping out soon!

Where does the time go!? I feel like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital like, "Um, so are you sure we just take him? Are you coming with us? I don't think we're responsible enough for a human life! Are you sure we just walk out of here with this new human???" Somehow though, it also feels like he's always been a part of our lives. It's so strange. 

produce on parade

Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto

Activism Alert!

Produce On Parade

Tomorrow, October 2nd, I hope you will join me in a fast against animal suffrage. Pigs and cows are often starved before they are sent to slaughter and hopefully this cause will bring some awareness to horrible cruelty inflicted upon the animals who share this planet with us. If you decide to join in, be sure to hashtag #FastAgainstSlaughter


Okay, now onto more merry festivities. Happy World Vegetarian Day! Perhaps you have an elaborate bash tonight to celebrate? This is a wonderful dish for such an occasion. When you're trying to impress your friends with your awesome vegan culinary skills, remember it's equally important to impress yourself as well.

Maybe like me, you plan to be decked out in head to toe L.L.Bean sleepwear for the celebratory-worthy occasion of watching New Girl and The Mindy Project on Hulu. Well, this meal is perfect for that too. I've got you covered, no worries.

On a side note...positively October-appropriate dish right? Black and orange for Halloween! I've never been a huge fan of Halloween, but as of five years ago, it's become a very special day indeed. It's the day Todd and I met!

Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.
Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.
— Albert Schweitzer
Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.

Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress. 

Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.
Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.
Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.

Aren't these purple carrots gorgeous? They came in my CSA box!

Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.
Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.
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Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto
Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress. NOTES: Feel free to use green lentils in place of black or beluga. Spinach can be used in place of the carrot greens. Skinny carrots will cook faster and work better in this dish than standard, large yellow carrots.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup + 3 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves (divided), minced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups beluga lentils, uncooked
  • 2 bushes (about 2 lbs.) of skinny carrots with green tops
  • -- Pesto --
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • heaping ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid amino acids or soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup water
Instructions
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-low. Add the onion and 2 garlic cloves and sauté for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Now, add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 35 minutes, or until tender. Be careful not to overcook. Preheat oven to 400 F. Chop off the carrot greens, leaving about 1 inch, and wash very well. Place the greens (discard most of the stems) in a food processer. Wash the carrots and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with a nonstick cooking spray. Lightly brush them with olive oil and sprinkle with a dash of salt and pepper. Bake at 400 F for 30-45 minutes, until tender. Add the pesto ingredients into the food processor with the greens, 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and three garlic cloves. Process until smooth and creamy. The pesto should be a little more liquid than regular pesto, so add additional water as needed.Serve the cooked lentils with a few roasted carrots on top and dressed with the pesto.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6-8
Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.
Produce On Parade - Roasted Carrots & Beluga Lentils with Carrot Greens Pesto - Roasted carrots rest atop beluga lentils, dressed with a fresh, carrot greens pesto. This exquisite dish is done in under an hour and will definitely impress.

Dutch Word of The Day

Happy --> Blij (blay)

Good Deed of The Day

Today, make an effort celebrate yourself. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or just trying to reduce your animal consumption. And be sure to give an animal and planet loving friend a hug, too! Happy World Vegetarian Day!

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.