In an effort to use up the massive amount of turnip greens I currently have in my fridge, I decided to make a big batch of pesto. It’s very similar to traditional pesto because it includes lemon juice, garlic and basil, but I decided to add in a handful of greens. This not only gives it an extra nutritional boost, but also a peppery kick which I love.
Now, I’m not exactly a turnip green expert, but I do believe there are a few different varieties. I found some small, tender leaves at my grocery store that weren’t too bitter so I blended them in raw. If you plan to use leaves from a home-grown turnip plant, just know they tend to be quite a bit more pungent (or so I hear). If it’s too bitter, you can blanch a huge handful in boiling water just until wilted, and then shock it in a bowl of ice-cold water afterwards. The cold water will stop the cooking process and preserve the vibrant green flavor. Also, be sure to drain out excess water and pat them dry before you blitz it into the pesto. If you can’t stand turnips greens, you could also sub in any other bitter/peppery greens such as arugula. Spinach works nicely too.
You may notice my recipe doesn’t include parmesan. I don’t eat a lot of dairy so I omit that part. There is a lot of garlic so I still get that umami flavor and don’t really miss the cheese. But, if you’re a cheese lover, feel free to grate some in.
You can serve this as a condiment to pasta dishes, blend into a salad dressing or serve on top of an entrée such as Pheasant with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes. This makes a decent size batch, I usually freeze half of it for future use.
- 1½ C. Basil
- 1½ C. Turnip Greens, Arugula or any other Greens
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Lemon, Juiced
- ½ C. Olive Oil + extra if needed
- ¼ C. Pine Nuts *toasted
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Combine the above ingredients in a food process or blender and puree until smooth. If needed, drizzle in a little more olive oil one table spoon at a time until you reach desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.