Loaded With Vitamins and Protein, Pesto Is Perfect for Kids
by Watch Staff
Sep 08, 2011 | 678 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Are you looking for a creative way to sneak vegetables into your child’s diet? Pesto, with its dozens of variations, is the perfect answer. Everyone is familiar with basil pesto, but there are endless possibilities for incorporating alternative ingredients into your pesto that are not only packed with vitamins, but delicious to boot. Think broccoli, swiss chard, spinach – even kale. Dressed up with other herbs like cilantro, chives, or the traditional basil, and your child will never know he’s eating veggies.

Here are three variations on traditional pesto. Feel free to substitute different nuts, oils and cheeses or add additional ingredients, such as herbs. Or simply add some spinach to your favorite basil pesto recipe into incorporate an extra bit of nutrition to your meal. Pesto is perfect atop pasta, or use as a dip for crackers and vegetables, or spread on a sandwich. Experiment a little and have fun.

Broccoli Pesto

1 head broccoli, separated into florets and the trunk chopped into chunks

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/2 c. grated Parmesan (or Romano or Asiago)

1/8-1/4 c. olive oil

1 small garlic clove, chopped or pressed

1/4 tsp. salt

Steam the broccoli for a few minutes, until it’s tender. Cool the broccoli, then put into a blender or food processor along with the walnuts, cheese, olive oil, garlic and salt. (Note: If fresh garlic is too strong for your child, try steaming it along with the broccoli to mellow its flavor. Or garlic powder may be substituted.) Process the ingredients until the desired consistency is reached. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Spinach Pistachio Pesto

1 c. fresh spinach

1/4 c. shelled pistachios, chopped

1/2 c. grated Parmesan (or Romano or Asiago)

1 garlic clove, chopped or pressed

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 c. olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine the spinach, pistachios, cheese, garlic, and salt. Drizzle in the olive oil while blending to the desired consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Swiss Chard Pesto

2 TB. plus 1/2 c. olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups chard, torn and ribs removed

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/2 c. grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

2 tsp. fresh lemon zest

2 TB. fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp. salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan; add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the chard to the pan and toss until slightly wilted. Set aside to cool.

In a blender or food processor, combine the cooled chard and garlic, the remaining 1/2 c. olive oil, walnuts, cheese, lemon zest and juice, and salt. Blend until creamy and adjust seasonings to taste.
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