As you may know (if you’ve had the inclination to read my ‘about’ page), for over a year and a half now, I’ve been receiving a bag from Fresh City Farms every week with fresh, local (for the most part), organic produce. It was a decision I made to eat local, eat healthy and experience new veggies that I might not have otherwise tried—or have given the cold shoulder to. Can anyone say brussels sprouts?
A couple of weeks in a row I got a bag of pea shoots. NO CLUE what to do with them. They didn’t really seem like a lettucy-thing. I typed ‘pea shoots’ into Google and saw that folks were making pesto out of it. I love pesto. Not just any pesto. It’s got to be good pesto. And I know good pesto from having lived in Italy for 5 years and visited the beautiful Liguria region in Northern Italy, birthplace of pesto (Cinque Terre should be on everyone’s bucket list).
Pesto is traditionally made with garlic, basil, and pine nuts, olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and Pecorino Sardo. Pecorino Sardo is a firm cheese from the Italian island of Sardinia made from sheep milk. As it’s not easy to find, I just use more parmesan in its place.
I decided to try a pea shoot pesto. Just substitute the basil for pea shoots essentially. And, to anger any Italian foodie purists out there even further, I used flax seeds instead of pine nuts. I had bough a bag of flax seeds for another recipe and had tons left over. They’re so healthy, plus they’re so in. In an effort to be cool, I put in a handful.
I’ve used it two ways: in a tomato/mozzarella salad and on top of pasta. Both were delicious!
Full disclosure: I really love this stuff, but I sent my friend Rob home with some one night (we’d eaten something else for dinner) and he wasn’t a fan. Oh well. You can’t please everyone all the time right?
- 2 1/2 cups pea shoot leaves, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 2 Tablespoons flax seeds
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- Mix pea shoot leaves and flax seeds in a food processor until coarsely chopped.
- With the food processor running, slowly add in 1/2 cup of the –olive oil until pesto is the consistency you prefer. Feel free to add more olive oil if that’s what you want.
- Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Note: It can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.
Recipe adapted from: Pesto with pea shoots and garlic scapes