Going for Greens

Children who don't just eat, but relish, enjoy, and seek out vegetables. Isn't that the dream? More often than not, our hopes are dashed by little sour faces, picking warily at our carefully-crafted concoctions, announcing, "Yucky!" with such an air of finality that you'd imagine they had at least tasted it. I am an unashamed lover of veggies, and feel like I have been all my life - (my mother may disagree) so I introduced plenty of green, red, white, orange and purple early and often into my kids' diets. Most of the orange and red was eaten with zest. We started out fine with purple and white, but it slowed down a bit toward toddlerhood. But the green - oh, the green. Sure, they'll have an odd pea or edamame or lima bean if i steam and salt it liberally, and I'm not sure they know that scrambled eggs come without spinach and cheese - but try to get them to eat a broccoli, or a green bean, or - gasp!- kale? All of my attempts at serving leafy greens have been thwarted - UNTIL! I stumbled upon an answer last night, and I humbly share it with you - go forth and feed your little leprechauns, and if they are anything like mine, they will lick the platter clean!

Okay, here it comes - are you ready? Pesto! I usually make my own - basil, pine nuts, garlic, some freshly grated parmesan cheese and a little good olive oil in the food processor and you're good to go - but last night, I'm staring at this pizza dough. I've got some leftover roasted veggies, and a bit of shredded chicken and cheese - but it's looking pretty sparse, and there is a giant bag of shredded mixed greens that's been staring at me for the last week, daring me to use it. But I know they won't eat it, and I'm not sure greens cook alright on top of pizza in that way... then it hit me - grind it up into some pesto and it should work! Not having any pine nuts, I had to "play jazz"as my DH likes to say, but it was a total hit, and the kids were eating it by the fingerful out of the bowl. Here's how the recipe shook out:

1 big handful chopped mixed greens - collard, turnip, kale, and mustard
1 big pinch fresh basil
1 big pinch fresh cilantro
about 4 oz slivered almonds
4-5 oz shelled roasted pistachios (almost any nuts would work - pine nuts or even hazelnuts or walnuts would probably be good - this was what I had on hand.)
a couple of cloves of bruised, peeled, chopped garlic
about 1/3 of a cup of grated hard cheese (parmesan, pecorino, asiago....I think i put some caciocavallo in there...whatever you have. Grate it fresh if you can - the shake cheese has lots of cellulose powder and a different flavor.)
I put in a handful of dried "antioxident blend" mixed berries - in my normal pesto i will put a couple of sun dried tomatoes or sweetened dried cranberries - I like the sweet/tart note they add - this is optional.
a pinch of kosher salt and a spoon full of raw sugar

add these to the food processor and pulse a few times after each ingredient, and drizzle in a good 1/3 to 1/2 cup of good olive oil all the while- until you reach the consistency you like. Make sure you taste and adjust - that's why the measurements are so free.

I plopped it on pizza along with roasted veggies and cheese, but it would be good tossed with your kids' favorite shape of pasta, or scrambled into eggs, or mixed with a can of tuna and scooped on crackers. Who doesn't love crackers? Happy cooking, and I hope your kids like it! Leave out the garlic if they are very sensitive....

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