Salad bowls, Salads, Sauces

Citrus Macadamia Nut Pesto

pesto collage


For Mother’s Day this year I asked for an herb garden. I’ve tried them before, several times, and killed them all within an embarrassingly short period of time. But it’s been a few years and I’ve been feeling good about trying again! I bought a gigantic galvanized tub, drilled holes in the bottom and a few inches from the bottom in the back. Then I filled it up with rocks about 8 inches up, then the soil, plant food and a ton of different herbs. So far so good! I’ve been loving using up the herbs in my cooking every night.

A couple weeks ago I decided to make a green quinoa salad inspired by the green rice salad in Kimberley Hasslebrink’s Vibrant Food cookbook (one of my faves!). Instead of a green sauce though, I decided to make more of a citrus pesto. Macadamia nuts are simply dreamy in pesto, as they add that sweet, nutty flavor, but also a creamier texture than you’d get with pine nuts. It’s warm out, so I’m obsessed with fresh, bright flavors, and this hits the spot every time. The mint takes the brightness to another level- such a great addition, and it doesn’t need much. The jalepeno is optional, but not for me! I’ve made this several times in the last few weeks, and used it in a million different ways. Tossed with quinoa, grilled chicken, fruit and veggies; dolloped on top of a roasted chickpea chopped salad; as a dip for veggie sticks; smeared on toast with slices of salty cheese; tossed with cold rice and cherry tomatoes; and today tossed with grilled shrimp, corn, avocado and tomato. I dunked a few of the shrimp in the pesto as I was plating, and I think I may serve it that way next time. So bright, so flavorful, so pretty… It’s the epitome of sunny day eating! I hope you’ll make it soon.  Click on the link below the photos to view and print the recipe. Happy tossing/dipping/dunking/spreading/smearing!

First I layered all the ingredients but the olive oil in the food processor…
1 Then while buzzing it around, I drizzled in the olive oil, stopping twice to scrape the bowl and test the S+P levels…2

It makes the prettiest color!3 This is the consistency I like…4

Serve it in a bowl drizzled with olive oil for a dip for veggies or grilled meat…
5 Toss it with cooled quinoa and use it as a base for a simple shrimp salad…6 Use it as a salad dressing for a chopped salad full of crunchy roasted chickpeas…7Another use of the tossed quinoa salad- with grilled chicken, fruit and veggies (and avocado because… avocado).