Pesto was my thing. Is my thing actually and there are five simple ingredients that make a true pesto; a nut (traditionally pine nuts, though my favorite is pecan), a cheese (traditionally Parmesan, though my choice would be Pecorino), basil, high quality olive oil and fresh garlic. After living in Italy I know how the Italians feel about tampering with traditions, especially recipes. While living there I searched high and low for the most authentic pesto and when I came home I aimed to recreate it.
When I say pesto is my I thing, I mean that I not only would enjoy eating gallons of it by the spoonful but I like to think I’ve also perfected the art of making it. My friends loved when I would make it, especially one who studied with me in Italy. She’d ask me to make if for her all the time when we were college roommates. NO joke, I went to visit her in Chicago last summer and what did she ask me to make? Pesto. I promise you this girl knows her own in the kitchen too and will throw down a Bolognese sauce from scratch like it’s no ones business. That’s her thing. She knows that pesto is mine and it’s a pretty darn good thing.
Here’s where we can all be SAD for a moment. Just ONE. I’ll let everyone (myself included) grieve the lack of the nuts in their current lifestyle, because if you’ve come this far with the autoimmune protocol it’s likely you grieved cheese long ago. So there, now that we’re past missing the lack of nuts here, we can move for me to tell you why this pesto is SUPER green, even tastier and better for you than my beloved original version.
Sticking to tradition (the Italian’s are clapping on this one) I use five main ingredients for this pesto and it can be made by anyone who has a blender. To get it “super green” I use greens of course, my favorite in particular being collard greens. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I love them so much I even created the hashtag #praisethecollards. This would be my recommendation for all of you who don’t enjoy eating greens whether boiled, sautéed, baked, or smothered in something else mildly appetizing. You don’t taste them here, it tastes like pesto yet you’re getting slammed with benefits of consuming fresh collard greens. Your body and your mouth will thank you.
Since this pesto doesn’t have the heavier nuts and cheese as traditional pesto’s do, it’s much lighter in texture making it the perfect component as a sauce with vegetable noodles. On a bed of turnip noodles (my favorite noodle lately) you get the added bonus of a complex carb with the nutrient density of a root vegetable. Turnips are high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K which is an essential antioxidant which helps to fight inflammation in the body.
Red snapper is my fish of choice here. It’s extremely delicate and when cooked perfectly it flakes gently into bite size portions. I adore the combination of fish and pesto as the sauce adds a richness to an otherwise underwhelming fish flavor. As a total package this entire meal will fill you up without feeling weighed down like a wheat pasta with nuts and cheese.
Incorporating a good amount of fish into my diet has been a priority to balance my omega 6 and omega 3 intake. However, it’s also been challenging to incorporate a ton of fresh fish since it can be a bit more costly. I keep an eye out for good quality catches, that wont break the bank and can go along way. In this case it was red snapper, caught in the US and a little over a half a pound provides at least three meals for me at an affordable price. Plus red snapper has a ton of protein, essential vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids – WIN!
With anti-inflammatory properties, detoxifying components, nutrient density and proportionate protein, this whole meal balances your body and budget and leaves your belly happy!
SUPER GREEN PESTO & BROILED RED SNAPPER
Ingredients – for 2 people
Pesto – makes a cup in total so you will have more than you need for one meal!
3 cups fresh organic Collard greens (chopped)
1 cup fresh basil
3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup green olives (without brine I use Natural Value pitted green olives)
1/2 cup high quality olive oil (higher the quality the better, it will should have a peppery tinge to it)
1 tsp full fat coconut cream * optional – for a creamier consistency
sea salt to taste *optional
.5 lb skin on red snapper, cut into filets
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Dash sea salt
2 turnip roots (peeled and spiralized)
1. Wash, dry and chop up collard greens if not already chopped. Remove pieces that have the larger stems, but don’t throw them out, you can use them in soups or stocks. Then wash and dry your basil. Add all pesto ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until smooth and creamy consistency. You may have scrape down the edges as it blends to get everything well mixed. This will take a few minutes to get everything well incorporated.
2. While the pesto is blending you can peel and spiralize your turnip roots. I use the smallest noodle setting on the Paderno spiralizer. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can always use your peeler to create thin an slightly wider noodles by taking the peeler all the way around the turnip, this will take some time. Place these in a pot and cover with water. Place them on the stove top and turn to high, bringing the water to a boil. When your turnip noodles begin to boil, turn off the heat and set them aside leaving them in the water (they will continue to cook).
3. Turn on your broiler. Wash the red snapper with cold water and pat it dry. Take a baking sheet and brush with coconut oil, reserving some for the fish. Take the skin side of the fish and score the two opposite edges with a sharp knife or fork to help prevent curling. Then place the skin side down on the pan. Place the baking dish under the broiler and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the fish from the oven and carefully flip them over to skin side up. Then place the fish back in the oven for another 1 minute to get the skin slightly crisp. The fish should be done.
3. Remove the turnip noodles from the water and drain any excess. Add your fish and top with pesto. I also add so lemon zest to mine for a little extra acidity.