Most people are familiar with traditional pesto recipes that use basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Creating a variation on this delicious recipe, we replaced the pine nuts with almonds and the basil with Italian parsley and rainbow chard. We also added mint, which adds a bright fresh flavor, nicely complementing the other ingredients.
Gluten Free Parsley Pesto with Rainbow Chard
- 1 bunch rainbow chard
- 1/2 bunch of Italian parsley
- 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/8 tsp. dried mint flakes
- 1/8 tsp. dried basil leaves
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp. Himalaya salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 packet of Trader Joe’s “Rice Sticks” pasta
- ground black pepper, to taste
To a large pot of water add 1 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Wash and chop the chard, removing the stems. Add to boiling water and blanche for 2 minutes. Remove chard from the water with a slotted strainer and set aside. Reserve the boiling water, as you will need this to cook the pasta. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook for 6-8 minutes. Strain, and set aside in large bowl, covered.
Heat 1 tsp. coconut oil in a saute pan, add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and cook until golden. Turn down the heat to low and add the chard, along with 2 Tbsp. of the reserved cooking water. Add the mint flakes, dried basil, black pepper and 1/2 cup sliced almonds. Cover and turn heat to lowest setting. Prepare food processor with an S-blade, and add 1/2 bunch of Italian parsley, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 10 fresh basil leaves, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Process until smooth. If you are dairy intolerant, substitute 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup of cashews, which have been pre-soaked for at least two hours. Blend this in a food processor until creamy. This makes a delicious cheese substitute which can also be used in raw food recipes.
Add the chard and pesto to the cooked pasta, toss until the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately, garnish with fresh basil.