The kids and I have been establishing new routines this year. We’ve shed the lazy weekends that used to feel so empty and instead started packing Saturday and Sunday tight with grocery shopping at the good store, cooking, library time, church and family dinner with our extended family. Though I thought the structure of weekend routines would be a burden, it’s really made the weekends feel longer and more fulfilling. I guess it goes to show that change really is good.
Since Sundays seem to be our most packed day, I usually try to make a fast, homemade meal for lunch that can double as lunch for Will during the week. It makes life easier during our early morning rush and also means that we don’t have to rely on sandwiches for school lunch. Variety is a good thing.
This recipe, adapted from Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut “Pesto” in The Food Matters Cookbook, was perfect for that. It takes about five minutes to make. Total. You simply whirl the ingredients in the food processor — garlic first, then with the walnuts and sunflower seeds, then with the basil and red peppers and finally with the olive oil. Season it, stir in the cheese and you are good to go. If you can successfully operate your food processor, you can totally make this.
The flavor of this pesto is tangy, slightly sweet and a little bold. Like stripes with plaid. Toss it with pasta, quinoa or whatever for a simple and easy meal. You could also use it as a sandwich spread or on crostini. Or, hey, spread some on some pizza instead of marinara sauce. Mmm.
Roasted Red Pepper, Sunflower and Walnut Pesto
yields 8 servings
adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
7-8 roasted red bell peppers
1 cup fresh basil, optional
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Add the garlic to the bowl of a food processor and pulse briefly to break up. Add the walnuts and sunflower seeds to the food processor and pulse until the pieces are even sizes (5-6 times. Add the roasted peppers and basil. Run the food processor and pour in the olive oil in a thin stream until well-combined. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parmesan. Use with two days or freeze in small portions for later.