Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Arugula and Walnut Pesto

Arugula and Walnut Pesto
(with gnocchi)
Traditionally pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese, but to me, that is only a template.  Basically the first two ingredients can be changed around in numerous ways to alter the flavor, or use up what you have on hand, depending on what type of greens and nuts (or seeds) you prefer.  I have tried many different varieties in the past but tonight I had some arugula that had to get used up and instead of just tossing it with some pasta like I frequently do, I thought I would use it to make a sauce for some delicious whole wheat gnocchi that I had picked up at the store a few days ago.  I always have walnuts on hand since they are my favorite (and in my opinion, the most versatile) nut so I figured why not try an arugula and walnut pesto?  I wanted to add some protein to the dish as well and love adding canned tuna to pasta (fell in love with that during a summer spent in Italy when I was 20), so I also added in some lemon to the pesto recipe to compliment the fish.  The result?  A healthy and delicious gourmet meal that I was able to whip together in about half an hour.

Arugula and Walnut Pesto

2 cloves garlic
1/2 C. chopped walnuts
1/3 C. organic Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 1/2 C. organic baby arugula, lightly packed
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil

Blend together in a food processor or blender. Makes about a cup. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

gnocchi & tuna

I used half of this recipe on top of whole wheat and sweet potato gnocchi, with canned tuna (packed in olive oil) mixed in.  Top with more Parmesan cheese, walnuts or fresh arugula, if desired.

pesto all mixed together

pesto with gnocchi

Dinner is served:
with tuna, black pepper, more Parmesan and walnuts, over a bed of greens

Two days later:
The left over pesto mixed with
cooked quinoa and broccoli
for a quick and simple lunch

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