Kiki Rosemaria’s Seasonal Samplings: Pea Shoot Pesto

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This is the first in a series of recipes I plan to share with you all in regards to cooking locally and seasonally. Why should you try local, seasonal and sustainable cooking? Because that way, you are getting the freshest and most nutrient-rich foods into your meals and into your belly! The longer you wait after food is picked, processed, refrigerated, and shelved at the grocery store, the more it starts to break down, and you are losing out on a lot of your foods’ nutritional value that way. Plus, if you don’t support your local farmers, who will?

A word on pea shoots: Pea shoots are in season in the early part of spring, April through mid May, but sometimes can be found longer throughout the spring season in the west, at farmers markets or at asian grocery stores. They are a great addition to salads, sandwiches and soups, as they have a very light pea flavor and a nice crunch. I chose a pesto recipe because it is versatile enough to be used in a lot of different ways, but is accessible to people who may not be as well-versed with the hippie dippie cooking style I espouse.

This recipe serves 8+ people over pasta (I use brown rice or quinoa pasta), and is delicious when enjoyed raw over a zucchini pasta

Fresh pea shoots, ready to be made into pesto!

Fresh pea shoots, ready to be made into pesto!

(a how-to can be found here) used as a dip with pita chips or crackers, used as a sauce on pizza or sandwiches..the possibilities are endless. It really is up to you.

3 ounces pea shoots
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (you can also use pecorino romano)
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
Juice of one small lemon
1/2 cup spring onions, coarsely chopped
2 cups (or more) of olive oil, dependant on the consistency you like
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Pulse the pea shoots in a food processor or blender with the garlic cloves and sunflower seeds. Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and lemon juice and pulse again. Add spring onions and pulse again. Then, with the blade running, slowly add your olive oil in a steady stream until you reach your desired consistency.