The Secret to “Patchwork” Pesto

I’m going to prove to you right now that you don’t need a recipe, or a grocery list, or even complete consciousness to throw together a not only edible, but totally delicious and healthy dinner.

PestoLet’s just say today was a rough, pretty stressful, high-intensity kind of day. My train ride home was dominated by thoughts of  what I could throw together to both fill my cravings (read: total and complete need) for comfort food, and actually provide my body with necessary nutrients (rather than gorge on cheese and carbs, which is totally what my mind wanted to do).

I opened my fridge only to find  a few sad, lonely items staring back at me: two measly stalks of kale, a small bunch of sand-covered baby spinach, a handful of wilting parsley, some overly-bendable broccoli, and a forgotten half can of white beans.

Fighting my urge to call in the closest delivery, I got to thinking. How could I use up these sad excuses for vegetables and feed myself in under 30 minutes (that’s the time it would take for me to resort to eating my own hand out of sheer hunger)?

Pesto. A very patchwork-ed pesto. Thrown together in a blender with some oil and other assorted lonely pantry items, then baked with some leftover quinoa, white beans, and (of course) cheese. (Because no comforting meal is complete without some melted cheese.) This was my bad day-saving meal.

The point is this: If you’re confident in your abilities and open to new ideas, you can feed yourself well and healthfully anytime you put your mind to it. You buy some healthy items, and you get creative. Chances are if it’s roughly similar in taste (i.e. savory + savory, sweet + sweet), it will taste good together. Once you’ve mastered the art of those simple matches, get even more creative. But, generally, veggies + a protein + some type of grain dressed with some sort of sauce (dressing, hummus, pesto, tomato sauce), it’s going to end up tasting great (especially after a long, hard day). Have some confidence! The worst thing that could happen is that it will taste better next time around.

P.S. Sorry  for the sub-par photos. I’ll step up my game next time around!

Patchwork Pesto

Patchwork Pesto

What You’ll Need:

The Formula:
3 cups greens
3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic (raw OR roasted)
1/2 cup anything extra (sun dried tomatoes in oil, walnuts/pine nuts, artichokes in oil, olives are all good ideas!)

What I Used:
1 1/2 cup kale leaves, packed
1 cup baby spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cup fresh flat lead parsley, packed
3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic
3 sun dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

What to Do:

In the body of a food processor or blender, combine garlic, greens, oil, and extras. Realllly pack in the greens so they’re compact (this will help them blend together, especially if using a blender).

Pulse until smooth. You may need to do some stirring, adding more oil, some tamping down, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Store in the fridge for a week or so, or freeze for up to a few months.

So what do you do with it now? Here are a few ideas:

  • Like I did it. Toss pesto with some white beans, 1/2 cup quinoa, and some steamed broccoli florets. Top with grated cheese, and bake until bubbly! 
  • As pizza sauce! Slather it on. Top with veggies + meat. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake.
  • In quinoa salad (like this one with lots of veggies!)

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