pesto

Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Curly Kale and Curly Pasta Salad

I love making pasta salads when entertaining because it’s easy to make a lot, not too pricey, filling, and they are great at room temperature. This pasta salad recipe is nicely balanced with beans and greens, and a store-bought pesto makes it so easy! I adapted BHG’s Italian Pesto Pasta Salad recipe by adding kale and pecans.

I pull the kale off the stalks and shred them into pieces by hand. After boiling the pasta, I throw the kale in that same pot, with a bit of olive oil, and saute´ briefly until wilted and bright green. I then toss the hot pasta with the greens, canned beans and pesto.

Chopped green scallions and toasted pecans can be sprinkled over the top before serving, or mixed in, for an extra crunchy kick.

This dish is great served warm or at room temperature, and is easily made ahead.

For the full recipe, click here. I simply substituted kale and pecans for the suggested arugula and pine nuts. The dish could also be made vegan by leaving out the cheese and using a dairy-free pesto. It could easily be made with gluten-free pasta as well. Enjoy!

Recipe adaptation and photos by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast, a cookbook and food blog inspired by living in a cabin in the woods. 


BHG Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger: Pesto Veggie Gyro

Hi! I’m Brandy from the blog Nutmeg Nanny. I’m a small town girl who left the cornfields of Ohio for the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley region of New York. My food is influenced by my small town roots as well as my many travels around the world. This means I love everything from roast chicken to kimchi.

Grilled Vegetable Gyros with Arugula Mint Pesto

Growing up we always had meat as our main dish. My father was an avid hunter so the freezer was always stocked. When I moved away to New York I started experimenting with meatless meals and found a new love in roasted and grilled vegetables. That’s why I knew when I saw the recipe for Pesto Veggie Gryro I had to give it a try! Who doesn’t love a main dish that includes directions to smother the entire thing in pesto? Hello delicious!

Grilled Vegetable Gyros with Arugula Mint Pesto

I read through the recipe and even though I liked it as is I couldn’t help but make a few changes. I love making homemade pesto and have made a few on the blog as well. My personal favorite was beet green pesto but my husband puts his vote in for my garlic scape pesto. Either one is delicious in my book! For this pesto I knew I wanted to add a little mint because I have been using it like crazy is almost every single dish I have been making. It brings such a lovely fresh flavor to almost any dish. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of mint. Fresh mint doesn’t leave a strong peppermint flavor like most things that are flavored with mint oil. I also decided to throw in a little extra arugula into the pesto because the peppery bite seemed to balance to the brightness of the mint.

Sadly I couldn’t find Halloumi cheese like in the original recipe so instead I used some salty feta. While I think the use of grilled cheese sounds lovely I was perfectly happy with the feta addition.

Grilled Vegetable Gyros with Arugula Mint Pesto

Trust me, if you’re looking for a way to add a little more vegetables to your life you have to give this recipe a try. It’s the perfect combination of smokey grilled vegetables, salty feta and flavor packed pesto. Plus I wrapped it up in a mini pita bread so it automatically gets a gold star in my book. Who doesn’t love mini food?

 


Michael Wurm, Jr.

Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

While this summer is quickly coming to an end, I’m doing all I can to hang on to every last day. I’m also trying to still squeeze in as many of my favorite summertime foods as possible. A quintessential dish for this time of year is pasta salad. I’m a huge fan of the classic, but I also like to mix things up a bit and try something new.

BHG has a fabulous collection of Tasty Pasta Salads. As I was scrolling through, I was immediately attracted to this Italian Pesto Pasta Salad. Although my heritage is German and Irish, I enjoy lots of Italian foods. Maybe I lived in Italy in a previous life? Anyway, this was the dish I wanted to try.

With toasted basil pesto, spicy arugula, pine nuts, and cheese, I knew this would be a winner! I also wanted to give it a little twist of my own, so I added some sun-dried tomatoes for even more flavor.

This dish can be made in under thirty minutes. Because I had store-bought pesto, I was able to pull everything together while the pasta was cooking. Speaking of pasta, I used cavatappi, instead of elbow macaroni. I’m obsessed with these spiral noodles. With all of their nooks and crannies, they do such a great job of holding onto flavor. For the sun-dried tomatoes, I used the oil-packed and julienned kind. I drained them along with the cannelloni beans. After they were drained, I let them rest on a towel to further eliminate moisture.

Once the pasta was cooked and cooled, everything went into a bowl, starting with the pesto sauce and ending with the arugula. I used a vegetable peeler to slice in small strips of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Toasted pine nuts finish the dish with a perfect little crunch.

If you love Italian food as much as I do, you need to give this tasty pasta salad a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

As I mentioned above, I followed BHG’s recipe for Italian Pesto Pasta Salad. You can find the recipe here. To that, I added one 8.5-ounce jar of oil-packed, julienned sun-dried tomatoes, drained. I also substituted cavatappi for elbow macaroni.

Now get out there and enjoy these last days of summer! And let us know what some of your favorite summer foods are.

Michael Wurm, Jr – Inspired by Charm


Erin Gleeson

ingredient obsession: mint pesto crostini

Hello! Erin from The Forest Feast here, with an easy appetizer idea. I have oodles of mint in my garden right now, so I whipped up some Mint Pesto inspired by this BHG Homemade Pesto recipe. I used mint instead of basil for a fresh spring taste, and pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds) instead of pine nuts because they are nutrient rich and much less expensive. This mint pesto is also great on pasta!

Mint Pesto Crostini
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch (about 1 cup  firmly packed) fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup  grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup  piepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)
  • 5T  olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Set this pesto aside. Toast several slices of baguette and toast on a baking sheet in the oven until golden brown (approx 3 minutes under the broiler). While bread is still warm, spread a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese on each slice. Top that with a spoonful of the mint pesto, and garnish each with a couple pepitas. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Forest Feast is a blog by Erin Gleeson full of simple, colorful vegetable based recipes with photos and watercolor illustration. After working for many years as a food photographer in NYC, Erin moved to a cabin in the woods where she is currently working on The Forest Feast cookbook. Follow Erin on Twitter and  Instagram, @theforestfeast.