Pink Pesto

Autumn 2016
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food and drink

BY: Signe Langford

This pretty pesto has everything we love about a beet salad: the goat cheese, the toasted nuts, that beety earthiness! Gorgeous and delicious tossed with hot pasta and a knob of butter, or with white fish, it’s a feast for the eyes and tummy! Do try to find cold-pressed, extra virgin canola oil; it has a nuttiness that’s out of this world.

8 cups (2 L) lightly packed beet tops (a.k.a. beet greens), from about 1 bunch of beets with long stems and leaves
1 cup (250 mL) grated raw red beet, washed and scrubbed—no need to peel
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed fresh chives, coarsely chopped
½ cup (125 mL) roasted, unsalted almonds
½ cup (125 mL) cold-pressed virgin canola oil
1 cup (250 mL) hard goat or sheep’s milk cheese such as Beemster or pecorino
1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt

1. Separate the beets from the beet greens. Then separate the stems from the leaves.

2. Coarsely chop the stems and add to the bowl of a food processor; blend on high to break down well. This will break the fibres and release some colour.

3. Add the beet leaves and pulse to break down just enough to make room for the rest of the ingredients.

4. Add the grated beet, chives, almonds, canola oil, cheese and salt. Blend on high until fairly smooth; a few recognizable bits are fine.

STORAGE TIP
Pesto keeps very well in the refrigerator—up to a week—and freezes well too. This recipe makes a pretty big batch, so we suggest refrigerating some in a covered container and freezing the rest for another time.

Makes approximately 3 cups (750 mL)