Monday, April 6, 2009

Make Pesto in Minutes and Try It Three Ways

Ready for fresh, lighter spring flavors? Making pesto takes a few short minutes in a food processor or blender and can freshen up your quick meals for the new week. Pesto is nutritious containing vitamin A & C from the fresh herbs and lemon, and heart-healthy monosaturated fat from the olive oil.

I made this pasta Saturday before our condo showing when Aaron and I got back from errands. We had limited time for lunch since we had to get the house "show-ready" and squeeze in lunch. This healthy lunch was made possible by a bit of creative thinking and using items I already had on-hand. Here's how I did it. You can too!

  • First Meal: Make Pesto & Spice Up Steamed Veggies - Add it to cauliflower, green beans, or roasted potatoes, then store in the fridgerator in a resealable container (shown in the picture)

  • Second Meal: Whip Up Chicken-Pea-Pesto Pasta - cook the pasta and frozen peas at the same time. Recipe below.

  • Third Meal: Spread Pesto on a Turkey Vegetable Sandwich - Instead of mayonaise, smear leftover pesto with smoked turkey and spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes on whole wheat bread or wheat pita.

Pesto (Makes approx. 1 cup prepared sauce)


  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves (pull off leaves from the stems)
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley leaves
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pinenuts)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Need: food processor (preferred) or blender

Fill a medium bowl with cold water. Add parsley to the water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain and set-aside. Pull basil and parsley leaves from the stems.

Add all ingredients in the food processer, except for the olive oil. Process until smooth and well-mixed. Through the "shoot" (removeable opening of the food process), while the food process is running, slowly drizzle olive oil. Process until combined.

Tip - for extra lemon flavor add grated lemon peel where the essential oils are in the lemon.

Chicken-Pea-Pesto Pasta (15-minute meal) - Serves 2


  • 6-8 oz cooked chicken breast (or chicken thighs, shredded roast chicken)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3-4 oz whole wheat rotini pasta
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce


In a medium saucepan, bring water up to a boil. Add salt to the boiling water and add pasta. 5 minutes later, add frozen peas to pasta and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until pasta is al-dente. While pasta is cooking, reheat chicken. Cut chicken in bite-sized pieces. Drain pasta and peas in a strainer. Add pasta, peas, and chicken to hot pot and stir in pesto sauce. The heat from the pasta while warm the sauce and the meal is ready to be served.

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