– This parsley pesto would have saved me. Sigh. –
I’ve got a confession to make: I ate my first McDonald’s burger in YEARS last week. I was stuck in an airport late at night, starving, and I’d exhausted all of the healthy snacks in my bag. No other “restaurants” were open and I was a quarter mile past hangry, to the point that I was about to pose a serious health risk to any airline staff who might get between me and a bag of peanuts. So I took a deep breath, plunked down my $1.49, and bought a cheeseburger.
(If I’m being totally honest, I was so hungry that it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.)
– Parsley pesto – or any pesto, really – is easy to make. –
What does this have to do with pistachio parsley pesto?
The problem wasn’t that I was caught in an airport in the middle of the night, or that there was nowhere else to eat, or even that I was hungry to begin with. The problem was that I was not prepared. I usually carry real food in my bag when I travel, like these flax muffins with raspberries, but I’d just been too tired and stressed to pack anything beyond an apple and a few packets of nuts. I also hate dealing with the TSA food nazis, who seem to think hummus is a hazardous substance, and I didn’t want to play the “Is this considered a liquid?” game. (No, overly empowered TSA manager, hummus is not a liquid. Thanks for playing.)
Sheepishly, I must admit that I even wrote a whole post on avoiding food at airports. So I really have no excuse.
– Pesto, in media res. –
The burger did not sit well. Fast food usually upsets my stomach, and I spent the rest of the night feeling like someone kicked me in the gut. I had plenty of time to think about my food choices on the long trip home, in between twisting uncomfortably in my seat and begging the flight attendant for a Tums.
Last time I made this flight, I’d packed the perfect travel meal: a takeout container full of parsley pesto over pasta (very similar to this pesto-pasta salad recipe that I love so much), with pistachios added for a little extra love. It whips up quickly in a food processor and keeps well at room temperature for hours. With only a handful of ingredients and five minutes worth of actual work, I had prepared and packed a simple, delicious meal that had carried me through the night and left me feeling good the next day. Somewhere over the Great Plains, I deeply regretted not bringing any.
The awesome thing about this parsley pesto is that you can do so much with it. Hate mayo? Spread pesto on your next sandwich. Need an appetizer? Serve pesto alongside thinly sliced sourdough bread. Need a way to brighten a boring steak or chicken breast? A dollop of pesto provides a mega-dose of BIG FLAVOR WITH ALL CAPS.
Pesto even freezes well, so you can make a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays for the world’s easiest single-serving dinner.
Once I got home and managed to somehow digest the offending burger, I needed something simple to eat that wouldn’t zap the little energy I had left after traveling. I found a bunch of parsley in the fridge and a managed to dig up a handful of pistachios from the cupboard. In less than ten minutes I had a huge bowl of steaming pasta smothered with seriously flavorful parsley pesto.
I might not have had it when I needed it last night, but it will do me perfectly right now.
Refreshing Pistachio Parsley Pesto Recipe
- 1 bunch parsley last 2-inches of stems chopped off
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1/4 cup toasted pistachios chopped
- 3 tablespoons grape seed oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Pulse the parsley in a food processor a few times, until coarsely chopped. Add garlic, pistachios, grape seed oil, parmesan, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few more times, scraping down the sides of the food processing with a spatula as needed.
- Taste the pesto. Is the consistency too thick? Then add another tablespoon or two of oil. Does it need more brightness? Then add another squirt of lemon juice. Does it need more salt? Then add another pinch. The goal is to make the pesto as you like it, so feel free to add a little more of whatever you like to get the flavor and consistency to where you prefer it.
- Serve however you like!
To make a vegan version of this dish, use a vegan Parmesan alternative.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.