Labor Day Weekend is off to a fantastic start. The sun must know it's the last weekend of the year because it is out in force. It is one of those perfect Santa Barbara days - hot sun, cool breeze, clear blue skies.
What better time to fire up the grill. Or oven.
Grilled or roasted, these pesto smothered vegetables will blow your taste buds away. And don't let summer steal all the flavor. Use what's in season: summer squash, bell pepper, leek, fennel, and onion pair just as nicely as winter squash, pumpkin, potato, artichoke, carrot, asparagus, and parsnip.
I felt like basil pesto today, but kale pesto would be a nice touch in the cooler months.
The trick to this recipe is to smother the vegetables with the fresh pesto right when they come off the grill or out of the oven. This will tale the edge off the uncooked pesto without sacrificing raw nutrition. Especially true if you are using kale - what better way to slip in calcium and essential vitamins K, B2, B6, E, Niacin, and Folic Acid.
Serve these veggies alongside grilled fish, meat, or poultry, or over quinoa for a balanced main course.
pesto smothered vegetables
3lbs. seasonal vegetables
butter, ghee, or other heat stable fat
1 large bunch of basil, kale, cilantro, or arugula
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3-4 garlic cloves
If you are grilling your vegetables, you may want to make the pesto ahead. Otherwise, it came be made while the vegetables are roasting. In a small food processor, chop garlic and pine nuts. Add olive oil and basil and process until well-blended. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.
Slice the vegetables so that they are relatively the same size. This will ensure even cooking. If using denser vegetables, begin grilling or roasting those vegetables first and add the less dense vegetables later so that they are all ready at the same time.
Place vegetables in a large bowl and toss with melted fat to lightly coat.
Cook vegetables on the grill or roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes.
When the vegetables are done cooking, dollop the pesto over them while still hot. Serve immediately.