Sunday, August 19, 2012

Presto! Pesto for Dessert?

There are occasions when I need to quickly whip up an appetizer, entree, and/or dessert. I have found one component that takes minutes to prepare and that can really bring a dish together. Add pesto and Presto!

I created a turnip green pesto recipe for my cookbook. Turnip greens grow abundantly in the South. To prepare pesto, a bunch of greens is needed. Basil is traditionally used, but I seldom have the quantity required so I thought turnip greens would work well.
My pesto is very versatile. For a simple appetizer, my family and I enjoy the turnip green pesto with olive oil and focaccia bread for dipping.
I also recommend in my cookbook tossing the pesto with pasta for a quick pesto pasta salad.
In the photo above, I created a mozzerella-pesto stuffed meatloaf. The flavors worked so well together and was a great way to add greens into a dish. With the ooey goodness of mozzerella, even kids won't turn down greens with this meatloaf.

Turnip green pesto is just one version but there are so many other types of pesto that can be created.
Mustard greens have soft leaves and a unique flavor. I created a mustard green pesto to pair with my spiced lamb kebobs but it also pairs well with my eggplant and ricotta "stack." While my turnip green pesto combines turnip greens with walnuts and parmesan cheese, for my mustard green pesto, I add ingredients to compliment the flavor of the greens, pistachio for a slight sweetness and feta for saltiness.

Now, pesto for dessert?
Yes, there is a pesto that tastes great in a dessert.
My mint-pistachio pesto adds a bright, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor to any dessert, especially this easy one.
-Slice, then toast angel food cake
-Melt a thin slice of brie on top
-Spread on a small amount of pesto
-Top with a fresh or cooked fig (or cherry)
Mint-Pistachio Pesto
1 Tbsp. shelled & skinned pistachios
1/4 cup packed apple mint
fruity olive oil (I used California Olive Ranch's Arbequina)

Pulse the pistachios a few times in the food processor. Add the apple mint. Drizzle in a small amount of the olive oil. Process. Add more olive oil to produce a pesto consistency.
This pesto also pairs well with chocolate. Think mint-chocolate chip!


  1. Arrghhh I'm hungry now!! :9

  2. That sounds awesome :) I'm going to have to try that. Made me think of another flavor combo that might work..chocolate mint leaves with whole fruit fused blood orange olive oil.

  3. @David I am glad to hear that you like the ideas. I hope you enjoy the recipes. The flavor combo of chocolate and citrus sound good.

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  5. Hi Whitney! My husband and I were at your cooking class last night at Lynn Meadows as his birthday gift he wished to attend your event. We had a great evening and your was FABULOUS! We were the couple that sat in front set off to the side. Sadly we had to leave without purchasing your cookbook and taking the opportunity to have you sign it. We also missed the chance to take a photo op with you as well.... He told me that I was not prepared! haha
    Needless to say will we have another opportunity to see you in another cooking class or at another local book signing anytime soon?


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