Springtime Pesto {Nettles + Ramps O’ My}

Copy of Tempeh Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sammies

Just two weeks ago I turned 29. That felt a little weird to type or even think about. It’s odd to think I was just 18 when I started this blog. Where in the HECK did the time go? I was just a freshman in college and now I’m married thinking about kids. That provides a whole lot of perspective. I look at my blog and see how my taste in food has evolved over the years. I mean just by looking at the title of this post you can see how much I’ve decided to dip my toes into the ever expanding world of food. Nettles? Ramps? If you asked me 10 years ago what those things were I would have probably shrugged and not even know where to get them.

In true Taurus foodie fashion I welcomed my day of birth with deliciousness. An almond milk latte, avocado toast (not made by me) for brunch and a broccoli rabe pasta dish  with a luscious creamy cheesy sauce garnished with slivered almonds (yea…talk about decadent af), an entire bottle of Valpolicella for dinner and a strawberry tart made by my fave french bakery for singing Happy Birthday. Simple elegance.

I decided that this year is all about simplicity, presence, playfulness and gratitude. My kitchen intentions are to continue to provide simple healthy seasonal eats as often as possible. I working out of this culinary rut, I promise. I don’t know how many freakin’ pesto recipes I have put on my blog but this one is different!!! Trust!!

Have you ever seen a nettle? Or a ramp?

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Stinging Nettles (copyright Uwe H. Friese, Bremerhaven 2003)

Nettles or stinging nettles are a wild edible plant that has small sharp hairs that can actually irritate the skin. The weird part is even with that small inconvenience, it is nutrient-rich, a natural antihistamine (buh bye seasonal allergies), helps control blood sugar and a few other things (check it out here).

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Wild Leeks aka Ramps (copyright dano272)

Ramps are the hot thang right now and to be honest I had NO idea what they were until last year. These wild, foraged leeks are only in season for a short period of time and if you’re not shopping at the farmer’s market can run up your grocery bill. The taste is similar to a leek that had a baby with garlic. Using it up in a pesto gives you an earthy, creamy, garlicky flavor without it being overwhelmingly garlicky.

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Oodles of Zoodles with Avocado Pesto

Tempeh Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sammies

Whoa…where have I been, right?! Sheesh. Okay, I will keep it real with you, I’ve been working diligently on my Spring Cleaning Cleanse program which starts on Monday, April 25 (click here if you wanna join in yo).

I’ve been in the kitchen trying every single recipe, making sure it’s super duper simple for those busy peeps and putting together a pretty gorgeous e-guide for my cleansers. Kinda nice of me, right? So I apologize in advance for my absence. I promise once the cleanse is over, I’ll get back to normal (sorta).

I am in the process of shifting to lighter eating (thank you Spring weather and Mother Nature for getting the memo) so all my recipes are focused on this. And to be honest, it gets a little boring. Who the hell wants salads all day every day? NOT ME. That sucks so I give myself the opportunity to change it up a bit, you know, like with this recipe for Zoodles (zucchini noodles, yes, it is a made up word but so what?!).

This recipe is…

Light.

Refreshing.

Full of flavor.

And takes only 10-15 minutes (or less if you quick like that).

Can you dig it?

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The Best Pesto You’ll Ever Make

I’m on week two of my vegan challenge and I was CRAVING something creamy, comforting and delicious. I simply adore my cookbook by Chloe Coscarelli, Chloe’s Kitchen and have had a post-it on the page with Avocado Pesto for over a month now. I decided, that I just HAD to make it. No more excuses! To my surprise? This was probably the most simple and delicious pesto I have ever made.

Okay enough fooling around, here is the best pesto you’ll ever make:

What you need:

  • 1 pound linguine (or spaghetti- I don’t use white flour pasta, I opt for spinach, brown rice, or whole grain)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish
  • ½ cup pine nuts (I left this out, but that’s you’re decision!)
  • 2 avocados, pitted and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic (3 for pesto, 1 for sauteing baby broccoli & tomatoes)
  • ½ cup olive oil (save an extra 2 tablespoons for sauteing)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes or sliced sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 bunch baby broccoli or adult broccoli, chopped (whatever you can find)

How to make it:

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside. (Cook to AL DENTE- leave a little bite to it. You don’t want to over cook the pasta.)

2. Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3. In saute pan, add olive oil and 1 clove of chopped garlic. Let the oil get fragrant and add broccoli. Saute a couple of minutes before adding the tomatoes. Turn off heat.

4. Toss pasta with pesto and broccoli and tomatoes. Divide pasta among serving bowls and garnish each serving with a basil leaf.

[The finished product!]

The next time you crave pesto, opt for this vegan friendly and satisfying version!

Peace, love and no beef!

Guramrit