I watched maybe four episodes of "Chopped" last night. It may have been a bit much... because when I just went to the kitchen to make dinner, I created my own little mystery basket. Except instead of exotic or ridiculous ingredients, mine were things in the fridge that are about to go bad... I had to get rid of some spinach. And the broccoli was looking a little peaked. (Please don't tell the judges.) So there was that... From the pantry I scrounged some staples: pasta, garlic, onion. Done! I'm going to make a spinach pesto with sauteed broccoli and penne. Boom! And that's how it went. Pretty lame for "Chopped," I know, but the approach sure beat opening the door to a near empty fridge, sighing and saying, "We have no food!" Which is how I probably would have reacted just a few years ago...
Instead, I accepted the challenge and tried my damndest to impress my judge (the husband). And here's the oh-so-appropriately-timed St. Patrick's Day pesto pasta we ended up with for dinner:
St. Patrick's Day is a favorite holiday of mine. And when I looked down at all that green goodness on my plate I couldn't help but smile at the timing. I would totally make this, or even just the pesto for a St. Patty's Day party. Festive, and good for you! Skip the green beer and load up on this. (Note, I said green beer. I have no problem with beer... just for the record.)
Meanwhile, on my little episode of "Chopped"... The judges were speechless and practically licked their plates clean...
And there's still plenty of pesto left over to use in dressings and to dip things in between now and the actual St. Patty's day. This pesto (which is similar to this one) is a super sneaky way to get in more greens, which are good for you on every level - improving circulation, bringing in oxygen, detoxing cells and even lifting the spirit. They'll also help counter act some of the not-so-good for you stuff (read: green beer) we may over do in honor of our patron saint in green....
St. Patrick's Day Spinach Pesto Pasta
For the pesto:
1 bunch spinach
1/2 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 handful basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
For the pasta
1 box whole wheat or brown rice pasta
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
For the pesto, first put garlic clove in food processor and process to chop. Then add walnuts and chop. Add spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and process into a smooth consistency. Last, add the basil and process until evenly blended and smooth. Add more olive oil and/or water until desired consistency is reached.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and sautee until translucent. Add broccoli florets and sautee about 10 minutes until cooked through.
Top pasta with broccoli mix and then pesto.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps people take charge of their health and to start listening to themselves over the latest diet trend to optimize their own wellness, happiness and potential. Her family-friendly meal plans help parents take charge in the kitchen, too. This leads to more vegetables, less junk, and happier, healthier kids and parents. Megan shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.