Nature? She’s pretty clever. Plants are full of phytochemicals, which not only lend brightly hued pigments to them but also tons of nutrients and antioxidants to us—kind of like a giant neon sign pointing to what we should eat the most of to stay the healthiest. Science has proven that eating a veritable rainbow of plants (with—let’s be honest—a donut break here & there) reduces the risk of disease, strengthens our organs, and delays cellular aging. [Side note: Nature may also be playing a trick on humans and our little winged friends by enticing us to collect her vivid fruits and flowers, which will subsequently spread seeds to help her proliferate, but that’s another discussion.] In other words, the more colorful the crop, the more benefits it likely has.
Springtime is a study in fertile greens, especially of the microgreen variety, which are immature seedlings dense in vitamins, lutein, and beta-carotene (evidently manifold more than their fully grown versions). One of the most efficient ways to optimize their nutritional mileage is microgreens pesto. It’s bright, beautiful, super quick to pull together, and a nutrient powerhouse, especially in vitamins A, C, and K. Meaning a quick dollop—in lieu of packing a pound of greens onto your wrap—enhances just about any meal with energy and flavor. Best of all, you can mix & match types to best suit your palate. You’ll find this pesto at our markets, of course, but we thought you and your cells might enjoy making it even more. Better yet, grow your own microgreens so you can routinely stock that fridge and fortify that body!
This recipe is based on the classic Genovese pesto, which is a quintessential summer flavor to me and my family. However it’s entirely vegan, and you won’t miss the Parm one bit. Use microgreens pesto for schmearing (on sandwiches or panini), baking (in rolls, on pizza), tossing (with potatoes, pasta, or egg salad), and finishing (to elevate baked chicken breast, for instance).
Yield: 1 cup
1/2 cup (.64 ounces) well-packed fennel microgreens 3/4 cup (3.2 ounces) well-packed basil microgreens 3/4 cup (3.2 ounces) well-packed baby chard or beet greens 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 teaspoons sea salt
1) Blend all ingredients together with an immersion blender or small food processor just until smooth. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days, or freeze.