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pesto

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

 

Summer is the season of speedy ripening. A peach can go from hard to moldy in less than 24 hours. A banana from yellow to speckled in seemingly minutes. And an avocado from hard to creamy within just a day.

Summer is the season of inspiration from ingredients that aren’t going to last — and it’s this little push that makes my creative juices thrive.

Cue: avocado pesto.

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

This sauce relies on the simple efforts of a food processor. Yet, the straightforward combination of ingredients lends itself to so many possibilities.

This pesto could go great with tacos, on toast, pasta or grain bowls. Give it a starch, and it’s bound to shine.

Avocado Spinach Pesto Over Rice

The first night, I shared this pesto with a friend on pasta. We sauted some mushrooms to throw on top, added a cold glass of beer to the side, and enjoyed a lovely meal in my backyard. The remainder, I used the next day to spoon over rice, as pictured above, with some fresh tomatoes from the market.

The topping options here are endless, as is the starch like I mentioned above. Feel free to get creative and use what other fast-ripening ingredients you may have on hand!

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Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

This has been the summer of grilling for me.

Crispy broccoli. Caramelized onions. Charred corn. Homemade bean burgers. You name it, and likely I’ve been grilling it with friends and favorites in my life.

And as of last week, we can add pizza to that list, a collab between Emily from Nourishing Matters and I. Dare I say, Emily’s pizza dough recipe may have produced the best whole wheat crust I’ve ever tasted. Add grill marks to it, and it easily surpasses any standard, junkie-white-flour alternative. I could’ve eaten it on its own, sans all the other pizza ingredients, minus perhaps a little smear of her herbed pesto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Inspired by the latest bounties displayed at the farmer’s market, Emily and I brainstormed different topping options and settled upon this super summery-themed pizza. Fresh corn, grated zucchini and garden herb pesto…does the season get any better than that?

We added a goat feta on top to lend a punch of saltiness and flavor that wouldn’t take too much away from the sweetness of the fresh ingredients at hand. Perfecto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

While this might come across as a lot of work to make when giving a quick glance to the recipe below, rest assured this pizza can be fairly effortless.

Emily recommends making the dough the night before, which she ensures takes no time at all. How could that be? A food processor does all of the labor for you. Score.

You could make the pesto ahead of time, too, which again calls in a food processor to do all the work. (Food processors, always for the win.)

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Once those steps are squared way, the pizza becomes as simple as a roughly five-minute stint on the grill. Although, be sure to pay attention at this step! Divert your eyes for too long, and your dough can quickly get charred far past that perfect crispness we’re seeking here with grilling the crust.

Don’t worry though. Grilled pizza isn’t too hard. You just need some quick hands and pair of tongs and an attention span longer than a Pokemon-goer, and the dough will come out fabulous every time.

As noted in the recipe, be sure to have all of the toppings nearby so that you can quickly throw them on top after flipping the crust. This will enable the zucchini to get a nice wilt from the heat of the grill.

Serve with a side of tomatoes and basil drizzled with a little olive oil, balsamic and pinch of salt, and voila. Summer meals don’t get much better than that.

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Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

I’ve been cooking quite a bit lately. And blogging…not so much.

Sometimes a girl just needs to let loose in the kitchen, you feel me?

More-so, professional photo work is keeping me busy, and on that note I can’t complain.

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

But alas, my creative kitchen-meets-camera-meets-recipe-curation desires have led me back to the blog. Readers, I hope you’ve stuck with me because this one’s a good one. And by that, I mean its made up of a whole lot of tasty and seasonal ingredients to make one heck of a good-for-you pizza.

For the base, we’re working with socca, a long time favorite on the blog. Why? Because it takes fewer than 15 minutes to create, no kneeding, rolling, whipping or anything else complicated required. Plus, it’s packed full of protein from all the chickpeas that go into the flour behind it. Win.

The pesto is derived from kale. It’s prime season for baby greens, which lend themselves so well to raw usages, like in this flavorful, nutrient-dense spread. I mean, look at the color on that pesto. Also a win.

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

Feel free to play around with this. Add extra chickpeas on top, straight from the can or crisped up in the oven. You could sprinkle a few nuts around or experiment with cheeses, have some fun with a hot sauce of your choice or switch out the herbs for ones available in your own garden or farmer’s market. Get creative. And get hungry. Your appetite never fails in helping you to lead the way. Cheers!

Herb Socca Pizza with Kale Pesto

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Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

When you’re having a tomato party on your kitchen counters, turn up the heat and bring the celebration to your oven.

Slow. Roasted. Tomatoes.

Three words that equal magnificence. And a guaranteed party for your plated pasta, toast, or pesto.

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

Giving tomatoes a good roast enriches their sweetness and draws out an intensity of flavor that makes them almost feel rich. I love them with a drizzle of olive oil on a piece of crusty bread. I also love them with pesto, again for that sweetness I mentioned, which they’ll bring to the dish.

Roasted Tomatoes

August is a beautiful time, given that you can reap bounties of both tomatoes and basil. Feel free to throw some sauteed zucchini on top of this dish too, or any other harvest you might find from your garden or in your farmer’s market basket. Really though, this dish doesn’t need much else, except maybe a cool glass of white wine and a table al fresco. Enjoy!

Pesto Rice with Slow Roasted Tomatoes and Walnuts

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Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Do you have a favorite veggie? One you love so much that you’ve considered getting it inked somewhere on your body? If so, we should probably be friends.

Carrot Top Spread

For me, that veggie is carrots. Particularly those that come in multi-colored bunches, beautiful green tops kept attached and in tact.

Carrots are simply a delightful sight, and I happen to absolutely adore their earthy, slightly sweet flavor, too.

Multi-colored carrots

However, it wasn’t until, perhaps just last year, that I would do much with a bunch’s tops. Despite this, it had always pained me to dump all of those elegant, lacy greens into the trash. I’m not one to waste food, especially when it’s the kind that comes straight from the ground and still appears rather fresh.

So, I finally decided to do some research. The result? Without too much surprise, I discovered that carrots were edible from head-to-toe, and that I no longer should be trashing their tops.

Since, I remain determined to find new ways to use them. I’d invite you to do the same. (And share your findings with me!)

Carrot Tops

What do carrot tops taste like? To me, the little leaves resemble the qualities of an herb – very unique in flavor and fairly pungent. I’d liken it to parsley, with a fresh flavor that can cut other rich foods, yet with a slightly bitter touch.

Like herbs, I love to loosely chop the leaves, and use them for topping salads and sandwiches. I also love them for a flavorful pesto-like spread, such as this one.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

Given the flavor of carrot tops, this spread is a bit more bitter than a traditional basil pesto, which is why it pairs so nicely with the sweetness of roasted carrots. The beans add a boost of protein to it and also mellow out the flavor. Together with crunchy cabbage and sunflower seeds, all sandwiched into a pita, this creamy spread feels almost decadent. Yet, it doesn’t require much more effort than it takes to pull out the food processor and place it on your kitchen counter. Thank you to whoever invented this wonderful appliance.

Roasted Carrot Pitas with Carrot Top Spread

 

I chose to keep this dish vegan, but feel free to add some goat cheese or feta on top. You could also swap the pita for a whole wheat tortilla wrap if pita is not available. Enjoy!

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