I've been trying to diversify my dishes to be less about one 'star' item, particularly vegetables, and working to put several different ones together in the same dish, yet trying to keep it from becoming a mash-up of 'everything but the kitchen sink'.
In moving towards this goal, I've also looked to use sauces as a healthy add-on component...not just something that only enhances what's already there. A friend, many years ago called me the condiment queen, because I love using sauces, chutneys, salsas, etc on everything I eat - sometimes to the exclusion of totally burying my food in a mountain of sauce :) I like to think I've moved on from the days when I ate beef, and hamburgers were only in existence in order to be a delivery vehicle for the ketchup....but I still love sauces!
What is Pesto?
Pesto is actually the method of preparing this sauce. The word means "to crush" , "to pound", "to grind" and references anything that is made by grinding the ingredients into a sauce, traditionally in a mortar and pestle. This is where the English noun 'pestle' came from as well. The typical basil pesto is ground with salt, pine nuts, garlic, cheese and olive oil. Made this way in Genoa, it is the most famous form.
This recipe is more of an adaptation of pesto. No basil, no cheese....and I've 'pounded' it in the food processor for speed!
A Topping for Veggies
When planning how to prepare healthy food fast and interestingly, sauces are a key component. This broccoli based pesto can top a salad or pasta. It can go on top of a cooked sweet potato or a couple different veggies as done here.
The quantity of pesto here is more than is needed for these veggies. It can work for two people, about 3-4 times depending on how you use it. Double the recipe and freeze half, so after you make a batch, you can use it a couple times a week for two to three weeks. My aim was to create a interesting sauce that can be used on different bases, so mealtime is fast and interesting...oh, and very yummy!
I reuse glass jars throughout my kitchen. When freezing something like this pesto, with a slight liquid component, be sure to leave an inch or so of space at the top of your jar for the liquid to expand, so the glass doesn't break. After pouring in the pesto itself, pour about 1/4" of EVOO on top to keep a bit of a seal over the pesto, and keep it as fresh as possible in a home freezer.
I used my Saladmaster pans to make this, but any cookware will work. The Saladmaster cookware does cook things on average about 25% faster than other pots & pans because of the way it holds heat, so you may need to cook slightly longer in other pots. None of it takes too long to cook though, no matter which pans you use.
Start by making the broccoli pesto.
3 C Broccoli, chopped in the Saladmaster Food Processor #2
4 Garlic Cloves
1/4 C Pine Nuts
1 C Spinach
1 Lemon - both juice & zest
1/2 C (+/-) EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1/4 C Nutritional Yeast
1 TSP Lemon Pepper
1/4 TSP Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Steam your broccoli in the 3 Qt saucepan and 3 Qt perforated basket for 5 minutes…keep a bright green color by not over-steaming, don't steam too long or it will go limp and loose it's color.
While the broccoli cools, put the peeled garlic cloves and pine nuts in a electric food processor and chop finely. Then add spinach and chop finely. Then add the broccoli and chop. Finally add the remaining pesto ingredients and process. For a thinner sauce feel free to add more olive oil. I usually add the EVOO free hand with the food processor running and look at the consistency of the sauce to see when to stop adding.
Carrot & Asparagus
About 20-25 Asparagus pieces, chopped in 2 or to fit the diameter of the 9" skillet.
Half a large Carrot, cut in half to same length as asparagus, and chopped into 1/2" diameter pieces, to look like matchsticks, but wider.
After getting the pesto ready, place your chopped asparagus and chopped carrot into the 9" skillet. Cover with water, then drain the water out. Start with medium heat and when the Vapo Valve clicks turn to low and cook about 5 to 10 minutes. For traditional pot, simply steam for 8-12 minutes.