Power Pesto

Please forgive me as I simultaneously pat myself on the back and write this: a quick missive on how I’ve found yet another way to eat healthy green vegetables while having little or no cognizance that I’m doing so.

Going clean four years ago has meant many things. There’s no one way to define how I dropped 185 pounds without dieting or surgery. It was a combination of giving up certain things while taking others on. Gone was the pattern of binge-eating when I was having a bad day…or just falling into it out of habit. It does become a habit if repeated often enough. Next to go were gluten and cow dairy. But I took things on, like long-distance walking, DDPYOGA, and more produce. Fruit was easy, but vegetables were a challenge. Me and greens don’t exactly exude an intense chemistry, but I want to feel better and keep the weight off. I can’t say that I ever felt lousy after eating vegetables the way I’ve felt lousy after overloading on potato chips and clam dip or a bucket of fried chicken. The problem I have with vegetables isn’t in their nutritional merit but rather with taste and texture. But there are ways to be creative. A few months ago I discovered I actually kind of dig roasted Brussels sprouts. If they’re halved and drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled with a bit of good salt then baked until just crisp (not charred) they possess a genuine appeal.

So a few days ago, as I noticed a Tupperware container full of leftover roasted Brussels in the fridge, it got me thinking. Maybe because it’s spring and greens are everywhere but I but I had a pesto-pasta craving and the wheels started turning. Why couldn’t a food processor shred the Brussels to bits so innocuous they’d blend perfectly into a pesto sauce while simultaneously providing all those good things to my body Brussels are known for?

There was one way to find out and the result is the recipe below. I tried it. I loved it. And I really couldn’t tell I was downing a batch of Brussels sprouts. They key is roasting. It adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get from boiled or raw. Takes a little time, but well worth it. Don’t get too hung up on exact amounts in a pesto recipe. A lot of it is to taste. If you like it garlicky, or more cheesey, adjust accordingly. Ditto for the olive oil. If you’re trying to stretch it out or simply prefer it more runny vs. chunky, use a heavy hand when pouring the oil. The point is to enjoy, and serve over gluten-free pasta or spread on a gluten-free bagel or baguette. Making a creation that used to be a no-no for me into a clean delight is pure, unmitigated fun.

Power Pesto

1 1/2 to 2 cups roasted Brussels Sprouts, room temperature

1 cup or more of fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup Peccorino cheese

1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

3-6 cloves garlic

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed. Serve immediately over hot pasta or toasted bread.


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