Pasta is a must in my life although my digestive system doesn’t always agree with the high amounts of carbs it has to process. As an advocated for fiber though and pairing that with my love for finding new ways to include different vegetable into your life… I decided to put a tasty new twist on an old classic: CHARD PESTO SPAGHETTI SQUASH!
Let’s tackle the Chard Pesto first. Don’t have Chard? Try a different leafy green or mix a variety up. For all those Kale fans trying to find a new way to include this into your diet- now is your chance. Really into Arugula? Let me know how peppery it taste! Want to stick to the classic? You can never go wrong with Basil. Feel free to even go all out with a Spinach-Basil-Kale-Chard mix!
I was really inspired by the community gardens vast amount of Chard that flourished in the garden this year to make this pesto.
As you can see, we harvested a lot and what I’m holding is only a small portion of it.
Rinse and clean your greens, tear them into smaller pieces and throw it in the blender or food processor with the rest of your ingredients. Again, similar to the leafy greens used- the nuts too can be exchangeable. This is one of the things I love most about pesto, it’s versatile and flexible. Traditionally pine nuts are used but to be honest, they can be on the expensive side. Solution? Use a nut thats on sale at your grocery store. My student budget was my inspiration for using walnuts which happened to be the deal-of-the-week at my local sprouts.
If you’re feeling fancy, feel free to roast a few garlic pieces instead of raw garlic.
Lastly, don’t forget to add in the olive oil, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.
Chard Pesto Ingredients:
1 C. Chard
3 Roasted Garlic Cloves
4 Tbsp. Walnuts
4 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
1/4 C. Olive Oil
5 Tbsp. Water
Salt & Pepper to taste
I used a blender but would definitely recommend using a food processor. It’s consistency just turns out a little nicer. I attempted to make a large batch but was having trouble blending it thus, I had a brilliant idea of pushing down the greens between blends. Of course, I wasn’t fully paying attention to what I was doing- don’t be like me. A month later I was still discovering pesto that had been splattered into the most random place.
Most people would generally start here first before the pesto. I personally prefer to make the pesto first though because that means I can toast a slice of sourdough bread to munch on while I cook. To each their own though!
Assuming you didn’t have a fork accident like I did, didn’t burn yourself while roasting the garlic or any other kitchen mishaps (who knew the kitchen could be such a dangerous place?), you are ready to start your spaghetti.
The longest item to cook that should be placed in the oven first is the spaghetti squash! First things first- preheat the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the squash length ways down the middle so each half can lay evenly. Scoop out the seeds- you can either throw these away OR toast them like you would pumpkin seeds for another delicious and simply cooking snack. Now you’re ready to add a little olive oil on the squash, dash a little pepper according to your taste preference then place on a baking sheet cut-side down. Roast for approximately 40 min but feel free to leave it in there to get a golden crispy on it. You will know the squash is done because the inside will be tender and easily pierced by your fork. When its roasted to your liking, separate the squash into stands with a scraping or fluffing action.
While your squash is in the oven you can prepare the rest of the vegetables to add in for extra flavor. It would be smart to take advantage of the hot oven by roasting your cherry tomatoes at the same time. I prefer to slice them in half and simply toss them in a little olive oil before roasting. Let them sit in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 min. Always feel free to omit anything or add condiments if you wish (a little rosemary or thyme is great). For this recipe, its all about the Chard Pesto flavor so I try not to get too crazy with other condiment flavors. So far we have used a lot of olive oil so consider using a silicone baking mat or parchment paper if you want to reduce your oil intake.
The two simplest things are left for last: pan frying mushrooms and eggplant. Slice your eggplant and mushrooms into tin bit sized pieces. Heat a large pan over medium-heat with 1 tablespoon of oil and add the eggplant and mushrooms. Allow them to sit and after 5 minutes they will start to brown. Turn down the heat to low to allow the vegetables to become more tender, cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally..
The last step? Throw everything together on a plate and dig in!
Spaghetti Squash Ingredients:
-1 Whole Medium Spaghetti Squash
-1 Container of Mushrooms
-2 Small Baby Eggplants
-4 TBSP. Olive Oil