Ohhh, how I am loving summer. It just tastes SO GOOD.
While we didn’t try our hand at gardening again this year we’ve still been enjoying mounds of fresh, summery produce. Maybe next year I’ll magically acquire a green thumb. Or maybe my friends who make it look so easy can come sprinkle their garden magic in my backyard. Pretty please?
In all honesty, I haven’t given gardening the best effort. It seems like such a daunting task when there are so many other house chores that need to be kept up with. Maybe once I finish weeding the cracks between the sidewalk for the 3rd time this summer I’ll start a garden.
I know it’s possible and I should just start small, but I shudder at the thought of adding more to-do’s to my schedule. It’s obviously the starting of the garden that’s the most daunting part, but I’ve had a major lack of gardening motivation. You all make it look so effortless! So this year I’ll leave it up to the locals who really know what they’re doing. Thank you green thumb gardeners. You kind of rule.
Now. Say hello to my new favorite pesto. The pesto that has little bits of crunchy roasted pistachios, bright and flavorful notes of basil [okay, I do have a basil plant at home!], healthy and vibrant green kale, tangy fresh lemon, and zesty garlic.
The pistachios give this an extra punch of nuttiness, rendering the typical parmesan addition pretty unnecessary. Sure you could add it if you like, but I promise you won’t even realize it’s missing.
Everyone seems to be zucchini-noodle-obsessed this year and I have to say I’m totally on board. I prefer to shred the zucchini and then eat the noodles raw with a fresh tomato sauce or pesto. When you cook the thin strands they have the tendency to create a mushy, watery texture. But when left raw you get a nice bit of crunch and so much freshness.
The healthy fats in the pesto combined with the bulk from the zucchini noodles will help fill up your stomach without weighing you down.
To give this dish a little something extra I’ve added a pile of organic sweet cherries. The contrast between sweet and savory and the juiciness from the cherries creates a guaranteed happy dance in your mouth.
I’ve teamed up with Whole Foods for this post [they helped fund my ingredients!] to give a little love to organic cherry season. I was tasked with creating a recipe utilizing sweet cherries. Although this recipe is quite simple, the cherries are a crucial component in balancing the flavors, and I just love the slightly crunchy but also soft texture they add.
Sometimes simplicity is best.
The cool part about all of this? Whole Foods is offering a $50 gift card to one lucky reader! You know you want to buy pounds + pounds of these ruby red gems while they’re still in season! Giveaway details below!
Pistachio Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles + Cherries
gluten-free, vegan // yields 4 servings
for the pesto:
- 3 medium-sized lacinato [dino] kale leaves, torn from the stem
- 1 small/medium garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup roasted shelled pistachios, if salted nix adding salt to the recipe or very little to taste
- 1/2 lemon, zested
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/3+ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
for the dish:
- 4-5 small/medium zucchini, 1 1/2-inch diameter max
- olive oil
- 1 cup pitted and chopped/sliced cherries
- lemon zest and pistachios, to top
Place a few inches of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Just before boiling prepare an ice bath [water + ice] in a mixing bowl. Once boiling place kale leaves in the water for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Remove and immediately place in the ice bath to halt cooking. Remove kale and pat dry.
Place the garlic in your large food processor and turn on to mince. Scrape the sides. Add in the dried kale, basil, pistachios [cooled if you just roasted them], lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse about 20 times until well chopped.
Turn the processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil through the top. Scrape the sides as needed and stream in more oil to reach your desired pesto consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few more times. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
Place zucchini over a large bowl and use a julienne peeler [regular peeler for wide noodles, spiralizer, mandolin, etc.] to create the noodles. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on top and toss to coat. Spoon pesto over the noodles and toss with your fingers or two forks to coat. Add more pesto as needed.
Top with chopped pistachios, halved cherries, and a bit of lemon zest. Serve immediately. Best eaten right away [the noodles release a bit of liquid and soften] but it can be stored for about 1 day. Leave cherries and pistachios off until just before eating.
Notes: I like using thinner zucchini as the larger in diameter the more water there tends to be towards the center. It’s likely you won’t be able to julienne the entire zucchini without slicing your fingers off, so chop up what’s left and place in the fridge to roast or grill in the next day or so. Or, throw in a smoothie. You won’t taste it!
If using raw pistachios roast in an oven preheated to 300* for 12-15 minutes. Turn once or twice. Let fully cool before using.
The noodles actually twirl! How cool is that?
- winner will receive - 1, $50 gift card to Whole Foods
To enter: Leave a comment below telling me your favorite way to use cherries OR how you’ve made gardening a part of your daily routine.
Giveaway ends:7/20/14 at 12pm EST