Pesto Sauce, Kale Pizza, and Eggplant


Lets Talk Healthy Cooking

I love Pesto sauce. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make it, but I wanted an old Italian Grandmother to teach me. I’m 30 and I have yet to find an old Italian Grandmother to teach me how to cook anything, so last night I took matters into my own hands.

My boyfriend started Meatless Mondays with a college friend of his about 6 months ago. They both cannot consume any meat on Mondays, it seems simple enough to me, but my boyfriend tends to struggle without protein. I take it as a personal challenge to make something so good, so tasty, so flavorful, so filling that he doesn’t miss the meat.

Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m a failure, but last night I set the bar pretty high. Not only was it meatless Mondays it was also Monday night football which deserves some kind of football food i.e. pizza, nachos, chicken wings, chips and dip. We don’t eat most of those foods in our house, but ever since I made that pizza he’s been after me to make another one.

Last night I accepted his challenged and raised him fresh pesto sauce.

Basil Pesto

1 garlic clove
½ cup pin nuts
4 cups fresh basil
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pouring over top (optional)
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 4 ounces)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

*It said to make it in a food processor, but I only have a blender and that worked just fine

Pulse garlic and pine nuts until coarsely chopped

Add basil and olive oil and process to combine

add cheese and pulse to combine

Season with salt and pepper

To store pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top and refridgerate in airtight contaier up to 1 week
Easy to freeze

This Pesto sauce is Gluten Free
Per serving (2 tablespoons): 229 calories, 22.72g fat (4.11g saturated fat), 8.8mg cholesterol, 1.95g carbohydrates, 5.22g protein, 0.6g fiber

Check out my pizzas!!

Kale Pesto Pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon
¾ pound store-brought or homemade pizza dough
1 ½ ounces finely grated pecorino Romano
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup kale tore into bite size strips
3 tablespoon fresh pesto
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

  • Preheat oven to 500° F
  • Brush a 12-in cast-iron skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Press dough flat in skill, spreading to edge (if retracts let rest 5 minutes before continuing)
  • Brush a 1-inch border around edge with 1 teaspoon oil, season with salt and pepper
  • Spread Pesto sauce over dough
  • Combined ricotta with salt and pepper and mix
  • Spread ricotta mixture over pesto sauce
  • Cook pizza on stove top over medium-high heat until bottom is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes
  • Remove from stove top add Kale
  • Transfer to oven for 5 minutes
  • Add Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • Finish baking until crust is golden and cooked through 5-7 minutes
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve

Per serving: 358 calories, 13.2g fat, (3.5g saturated fat) 13.2mg cholesterol, 43.12g carbohydrates, 19.04g protein, 4.12g fiber

This was so good. 

Lets talk NY Times Headlines

Eating the Color Purple
By Tara Parker-Pope, September 27, 2013

They say “eat your greens,” but this week Martha Rose Shulman’s Recipes for Health provide ways to eat purple, cooking up eggplant in five new ways.

Even though it’s officially autumn, the summer crop of eggplant is still in full swing at farmers’ markets across the country. I’ve been buying them in all shapes and sizes — small, delicate Italian eggplants and paler Asian eggplants that I buy both at farmers’ markets and at my local Iranian market, as well as the familiar globe eggplants that are widely available in both farmers’ markets and supermarkets.

The darker the eggplant’s skin, the more it has to offer in terms of antioxidant-rich anthocyanins. The anthocyanin phytonutrient in eggplant skin is called nasunin, and scientists have been able to isolate it and identify its antioxidant activity, particularly in protecting lipids in brain cell membranes.

Eggplant is a “meaty” vegetable. When I’m planning a dinner party for a mixed group of vegetarians and carnivores I’ll often serve a dish like the eggplant and tomato tart or the eggplant lasagna in this week’s Recipes for Health as my main course. These dishes please everybody and nobody goes home hungry.

I begin most of my eggplant recipes by roasting the eggplant. It will soften up in a 450-degree oven in about 20 minutes and requires very little oil — a good thing as eggplant is like a sponge and will drink up every tablespoon of oil you give it.

Here are five new recipes with eggplant.

Eggplant and Tomato Pie: This robust summer pie, topped with a layer of tomato slices flecked with thyme, is a nice party piece.

Balkan Eggplant and Chile Purée: This is an eggplant-centric version of ajvar, the Balkan red pepper and eggplant relish.

Lasagna With Tomato Sauce and Roasted Eggplant: This is a great do-ahead dish.

Grilled Eggplant and Tomatoes With Chermoula: Chermoula, the pungent Moroccan herb sauce that is traditionally used as a marinade for fish, is also great with grilled vegetables, like the last of the summer’s eggplant and tomatoes.

Imam Bayildi: There are many recipes for the iconic Turkish eggplant dish, but this one is a much lighter dish than the classic.

My favorite color is purple, and I love eggplant, what a surprise. I’m going to try a few of these recipes this week.

That’s all folks

Enjoy your day


References: New York Times, Sept 27, 2013, Tara Parker-Pope, Meatless: Clarkson Potter publishing 2013  

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My name is Mary! I was obese for most of my life, around 7 years ago I decided to take control of my life and successfully lost over 150 pounds. But that's just the beginning of my journey. Join me as I evolve into the person I was born to become. I love to cook, craft, read, and make people smile. I'm happy you've stumbled on by. Let’s Evolve Together.

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