Roasted Garlic Pesto

I love pesto and I adore roasted garlic! I was in the store the other day looking at the basil which was not quite fresh enough and seemed awfully expensive. Then I remembered that I have italian parsley at home and plenty of fresh garlic, and another ingredient that is not usually used that I thought would make an excellent Mediterranean-style pesto!

It is so very simple:

Roasted Garlic Pesto

  • about 2 tablespoons roasted garlic. Instructions for roasting garlic are here.
  • 1 bunch of italian parsley, finely chopped. About 2 cups.
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons black olive paste
  • 2 teaspoons sweet white miso (this is not “sweetened” it is less salty)
  • olive oil (as needed & wanted)
  • finely sliced preserved lemon rinds, or lemon zest if you don’t have preserved lemons. Instructions for preserving lemons here.

1. Roasting the garlic takes the longest and you can do that ahead and even store some roasted garlic for a couple weeks. Take the roasted cloves off the bulb and squeeze out the garlic which should now be like paste.

2. I like to lightly roast my pine nuts by washing them quickly in cold water and tossing them around in a heated cast iron skillet until they begin to brown. It takes 3-5 minutes.

3. I enjoy a more traditionally made pesto instead of one that is machine blended into a paste. I like to see and taste the pine nuts and the parsley so I use my suribachi to make the paste. A suribachi is a ceramic bowl that is all grooved inside and you’d be surprised how well that works! Here’s what a suribachi looks like:

Groovy!

Groovy!

4. If you don’t have one of these (or don’t want one) you can hand-chop the nuts very fine and minced your parsley with a good sharp knife. Get the nuts and parsley all chopped up and mixed together. Add the black olive paste and miso and combine it altogether. Use a little extra olive oil if you wish—I just add a drizzle of water if I want to loosen it up. Garnish with the preserved lemon rind or zest at the end..

A note about the black olive paste . . .

I like using black olive paste because even though olive oil is a wonderful thing, it is very refined. Think how many olives it takes to make that oil! Think what is refined out of it including the fiber! Olive paste is less refined and closer to being a whole food as it is mainly crushed olives. I used store-bought “black olive tapenade,” but there’s no reason you can finely chop pitted olives. Think of the variations using different olives!

5. Use the pesto for whatever you want! I used it in a quinoa salad today. You could use it as a topping in soup, as a spread on bruschetta, as a seasoning for potatoes or cauliflower, or add a little lemon juice or vinegar and make a salad dressing. And of course, pesto is great for pasta!

PESTO PASTA

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