Apparently creamy pesto is a ‘thing’ here in Manhattan. Especially in the Spring when all the fresh green veggies start popping up.
Right now, they’re on every street corner stretching from Wall Street to the Upper East Side and though I have yet to experience them in all their creamy pesto glory, I took it upon myself to create a fun lil’ red rice pesto recipe.
I’ve always made pesto using basil and oil but this time around I opted for a spin on the classic green mushy-looking pesto.
I tossed in a bit of fresh bushy broccoli, yogurt and asparagus.
Along with a touch of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
And so I bought a nice head of asparagus – so fresh n’ crisp and got to work. After coming to the conclusion this pesto wasn’t gunna taste anything like a traditional pesto – I went wild.
Well, as wild as one can get with a food processor.
Turns out, my asparagus version came out super tasty and sweet…not like any other pesto I’ve ever tasted. It’s rather Spring-like with a touch of creaminess from the yogurt revealing the soft and vibrant pesto.
I served it mixed with red rice. Which is SO pretty.
Why do we not make more red rice?
Notice how everybody talks about the white n’ the brown…but not the poor ol’ red.
Well, welcome in Red Rice – it’s so ruby red that it stands out in any dish.
It kinda gives off that ‘Eat Me’ vibe.
I’d serve this pesto alongside veggies, gluten-free crackers or atop toast. Heck, I’d even plop it on salads and grilled veggies.
But let me tell ‘ya- when mixed with this red rice- it’s a winner.
And perfect for a Memorial Day BBQ. Right?
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked red rice
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 lb. asparagus cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 2/3 cup pine nuts toasted, plus more for serving
- ¾ tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dairy-free or Greek plain yogurt
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 3 chives finely chopped
Cook red rice according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, steam the broccoli and asparagus. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a large pot. Add broccoli and asparagus in batches, cover and cook for 1 minute or until bright green and crunchy. Drain broccoli and asparagus in a colander and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Repeat with remaining broccoli and asparagus. Set aside.
To make the pesto: combine cooked broccoli, asparagus, garlic, pine nuts, sea salt, pepper and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in olive oil and yogurt; pulse until smooth.
Toss cooked red rice with the pesto mixture. Thin with warm water for desired consistency.
Serve topped with additional pine nuts, diced yellow bell pepper and chives.