Arugula Pesto + Brussel Sprout Shreds

It’s like this, you’re either going to reckon this is the oddest food combo and not sure what to think about it (well a twinkie stuffed with meat would be pretty odd)

OR

you’re going to love it and go buy some brussels immediately (brussel haters might even try it!)

(I love how spellcheck doesn’t know what to do with the word twinkie. I think it’s cause it’s an unidentified object). Just sayin.

Anyhoo, I love me some brussel sprout heads and they’re the underdog during this time of the year, I mean you never hear somebody saying (unless you’re me of course) I can’t wait to shovel those brussel sprouts into my mouth. People don’t usually overeat them either. Well,  I’ve overeaten these little bad boys of health. Not pretty. Soooo, don’t do that.

I’ve always wanted to mess around with the sprouts beyond the usual roasting (p.s. roasting is good too, check out this post for a few options). Why not make a happy combo with my two favorite greens? I have been pondering (favorite big word) the thought of shredding the sprouts forever but wasn’t quite sure what to do with them from there.

So, enter a pile of goodness where veggies are the rockstars and the soba noodles are just the backup singers. (Never had Soba? The Kitchn did a good job describing the difference between the Japanese noodles). 

p.s. This recipe is so meant to be played with (like play-dough or silly puddy).

RECIPE

Arugula Pesto & Brussel Sprout Shreds

Serves: (depends on how many soba noodles you make-safely serves 2).

Time: 30 minutes

Equipment: Food processsor

Ingredients:

  • 6 or more garlic cloves (heck, the more the merrier)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 bundle (1 oz.) uncooked soba noodles

For the sprouts:

  • 6 oz bag of whole, uncooked sprouts
  • olive oil (to taste)
  • pepper (optional)

DO IT:

Pre-Prep

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Shred brussel sprouts in food processor. Set aside.

    Love me some shreds!

  1. Place whole garlic cloves (unpeeled) on a cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes. At the same time place 1/2 cup of walnuts on another cookie sheet and roast for 6-7 minutes (nuts are not to be neglected, watch em so they don’t burn!).
  2. Remove both from oven and set aside.

Brussel Sprouts: 

  1. Place on a cookie sheet (once shredded) or jelly roll pan and toss with olive oil and pepper to taste. Roast for 10 minutes to start. Toss halfway through. Add on another 5-10 minutes or so if they haven’t quite cooked. Once done, set aside. (I kept mine in the oven while making the pesto).

I just love this pic of the soba noodles.

For the Noodles:

While the brussels are roastin, place 6 cups of water on the stove and heat on high til it’s boiling. Add the soba noodles and cook for approximately 4-6 minutes. Drain.

For the Pesto: (which can be made in advance).

  1. Add walnuts, arugula, garlic and salt to food processor and whirl it all up til a nice pesto-ey pile forms. As processor is processing, add olive oil.
  2. Scrape the sides and bunch it all up in a bowl, then add parmesan cheese and mix to combine. (take a whiff of the utter goodness).

For the finale:

Plate some noodles on something pretty, add some pesto and twirl with a fork to combine, (alternatively you can just add the pesto and soba noodles in a bowl and combine all like one big happy family) then toss some brussels on top and perhaps a bit more parmesan cheese (truffle oil anyone? just a smidge-omg).

ENJOY!

-Jen

Genius Thoughts (I can’t stop myself):

  • Use that pesto as a pizza topper (do I even need to tell you to add it to the squash pizza?)
  • Use the pesto as a veggie dip.
  • Use the brussels as a side dish (p.s. they’re fun to eat-but you might find some in your hair later). I might even toss some maple syrup on them next time if I serve alone.
  • Try other nuts. Pine Nuts are a traditional pesto maker, almonds or papitas would be fun! Mix your greens and try spinach, maybe a little fresh basil or cilantro (just watch the bitterness factor).

Also, don’t forget to subscribe for FREE updates if you like what you see here (top right corner), connect with me on facebook and twitter! I noticed some new lovely people following me on pinterest. It’s quite the addiction now isn’t it?

TELL ME

Are you a fan of pesto? Are you a fan of brussel sprouts? What’s your favorite way to use either? 

Pastitsio-A ‘lighter’ Greek Lasagna!

First of all….it’s SNOWING!!!!! I love waking up to that white stuff on the ground.

More the reason for a cozy comforty food.

I know, you think of the word lasagna and things like cheesy, meaty ,and noodly layers come to mind.  Hmmmm.

Well today you’re going to want to adopt this Greek recipe (the way I want to adopt a cute puppy). The word Pastitsio pronounced (pah-STEET-see-oh) is similar to a traditional lasagna with different counterparts. My first introduction was likely 8 years ago when Aunt Mitza served it up at a holiday gathering. The components include a bechamel sauce, cinnamon, and ground lamb-of which I don’t eat, but I did a real good job at picking all the meat out (Shameless).

What did I do next? Found a recipe and messed around, what else? I’ve replaced lamb with ground turkey (only cause I won’t eat lamb), used lighter milk, less butter and that’s about it! It’s best served right out of the oven cause the creaminess of the sauce is just so perfect, but you can’t beat the leftovers!

Serve it with a side of steamed veggies for some crunch and color and you’re done!

RECIPE

Adapted From: Martha Stewart (Original Recipe here)

Serves: 4-6 (depends on the size of your portions)

Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Equipment:

  • Large Saucepan
  • Large Skillet
  • 9×13 glass baking dish

Ingredients

For the Meaty Filling

  • 1 pound penne, cooked and drained
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (or lamb if you desire)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon goodness! (I always add more while the meat sauce cooks up, plus more for dusting)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (you really need to play with the salt here)

For the Bechamel Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk (I use 1 %, organic milk-or substitute)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Directions

Pre-Prep-chop the onion and set aside.

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta, and drain.  Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, over medium heat, cook the turkey, breaking apart pieces, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a colander; drain fat, and discard. Return turkey to pan; add wine. Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon (More is always merrier!), and 2 cups water; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 15 minutes or more (Mine is ready in fifteen). Season with salt and pepper.

Line up for Bechamel

Meanwhile:

  1. Make the Bechamel sauce while the meat mixture is simmering: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until incorporated. In a slow steady stream, whisk in milk until there are no lumps.
  2. Cook, whisking often, until mixture is thick and bubbly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to burn the bottom. Pay attention here. Stir in Parmesan.
  3. Combine the pasta and turkey mixture; transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour sauce over the top, smoothing with the back of a spoon until level. Sprinkle with cinnamon evenly (makes the presentation more impressive and a bit rustic).
  4. Bake until browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes or so before serving.

Chefs Tips:

  • Make this on an evening or afternoon when you have time!
  • If serving 2, you’ll have dinner for at least 2 nights, perhaps freeze half!
  • Add sauteed spinach into the meat mixture (while not traditional it adds a veggie and some color.
  • Serve with a nice glass of red wine, I love marquis phillips cabernet sauvignon.

BON APPETIT!

Have you had this dish?

What’s your favorite GREEK FOOD or RECIPE!

You might also want to try:

FASOLAKIA!

or another comforty dish:

Tomato Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup