The first signs of spring have us thinking fresh, green thoughts (see you next year, root vegetables), including how we can turn anything into a bright, herby sauce. It’s still too early for basil, but luckily, chefs are getting creative about turning all sorts of other herbs and vegetables into awesome pesto sauces. Here, three great new pestos we’ve spotted recently and how to make them.
1. Plant-based San Francisco spot Seed + Salt will serve zucchini pasta with a rich avocado pesto on its summer menu.
2. Dash and Bella blogger Phyllis Grant turns to a simple "clean-out-your-fridge" pesto made with any type of green lurking in the crisper drawer.
3. The pesto sauce adorning the goat cheese ravioli at RPM Italian in Chicago features the ultimate foodie springtime obsession: ramps.
Courtesy of chef Ariel Nadelberg, Seed + Salt
1⁄2 cup pine nuts, almonds or walnuts
3-4 cloves garlic
1⁄4 cup chickpea, shiro or other light miso
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
2 large avocados
1⁄2 bunch of curly leaf or Lacinato kale, de-stemmed and torn into small pieces
1⁄2 bunch basil and/or parsley, stems removed and roughly chopped
1⁄4 cup neutral-tasting oil like canola, sunflower or grapeseed
Pinch salt and cayenne or cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, lightly toast nuts for 5-10 minutes. When the nuts are golden and fragrant, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. If using walnuts, remove the skins.
Drop cloves of garlic into an already running food processor. Add miso paste and lemon juice and process until uniform. Add a drop or two of water or lemon juice if necessary.
Add avocado meat, nuts, kale and herbs. Pulse until chopped and incorporated. Add additional oil until desired consistency is achieved.
Season to taste with salt and cayenne or black pepper.
Courtesy of Phyllis Grant, Dash and Bella
A few handfuls of any type of green (basil, parsley, arugula, broccoli, kale)
Toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine nuts or a combination)
Cheese (Parmesan, goat, pave, Manchego, Asiago, anything)
A big pinch of salt
Lots of olive oil
A few cloves garlic (or garlic confit)
Acid (lemon juice/zest or vinegar)
Blitz the heck out of it all in a food processor.
Courtesy of chef Doug Psaltis, RPM Italian
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup parsley leaves
3/4 cup arugula
1/2 cup fresh ramps—trimmed, chopped and sautéed in 1 teaspoon oil, cooled
2 raw ramps, trimmed and sliced
3/4 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Using a food processor, pulse all ingredients together until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.