Swiss Chard Avo Pesto
Those of you that know me probably know by now that Matt has a nasty nut allergy. When we first starting dating he told me pesto was a-okay to eat because he could handle pine nuts. So one day I made him a turkey pesto sandwich, sounds good right? Wrong. He blew up like a balloon. Turns out Trader Joes sneaks cashews into their pesto (cheaper than pine nuts). We learned a valuable lesson in reading labels or making things from scratch.
Years later, I was really craving pesto and had the idea to use an avocado as a base instead of nuts. So we experimented with our own recipe and it turned out amazing! And frankly, a little healthier.
In the spirit of healthy eating, every two weeks we get a local farm box filled with local, seasonal produce. You don’t get to pick what ends up in your box, which I like because it forces me to try new things. If it were up to me, I’d just get strawberries, onion and summer squash.
This week’s box had a big bunch of colorful Swiss Chard. Chard is a leafy green that is primarily used in Mediterranean cooking. The flavor is really distinct and can easily be overpowering. It has a really earthy, almost dirty flavor, even after you’ve washed it and rewashed it. Chard is packed with nutrients, and is the second most nutritious vegetable next to Spinach.
The thing I love most about Swiss Chard are the vibrant colors of the stalks, sometimes they’re too pretty to eat! The biggest problem I have with chard is I just really don’t like it that much. I like to try it in limited quantities.
Scrolling through Pinterest on how to best use up my huge bunch of chard, I can across a recipe for Swiss Chard Pesto, which of course called for nuts.
So I used Matt’s Pesto Recipe but used Chard instead of basil. This makes for a less traditional pesto flavor, but still has the color, consistency and yummy olive and garlic flavors that pesto has. Plus it was fresh, homemade and rich with nutrients! I hope you enjoy it!
- 4 Cups Packed Raw Swiss Chard Leaves
- 1 large, perfectly ripe avocado
- 2 Lemons, juiced
- 3 Large peeled Garlic Cloves
- ½ Cup of Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Lemon Lime Salt (regular salt is fine too)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
* My Olive Oil and Lemon Lime salt were also locally sourced from Forbidden Fruit Orchard, which is the sister label for the winery I work at!
- Remove chard stems from leafs. Save the stems for later!
- Finely chop leaves so your food processor can easily handle them
- Add all ingredients except for lemon juice to your food processor, you’ll need to add the leaves slowly as they’ll reduce in size
- Add lemon juice as more liquid is needed, make sure to taste your pesto along the way to make sure the flavors are balanced!
- Run ingredients through food processor until your Pesto is at your desired consistency
- Chop the chard stems like celery. Fry in oil for a pop of colorful garnish.
- Eat RIGHT AWAY. Everyone knows avocado doesn’t last long :)
Yield: 2 ½ Cups of Pesto (funny that you start with about 8 Cups of ingredients!)