Don’t you just hate it when someone tells you to “relax” or “lighten up?”
This time of year, avocados are literally dropping from the trees. (I know this because my dog, Larry, has been on a steady diet of avocados foraged from the yard – along with the tell-tail signs of his binge eating all over my grass.) But let’s face it, there comes a time when it’s a race between you and the avocado… can you eat it up before it goes all brown on you? We’ve all been there.
Deemed one of the healthiest fats you can eat, and encouraged in moderation for humans (and probably dogs too), I decided to healthy-up another one of my favorite, go-to, easy weekday lunch or dinner recipes by substituting avocados and yogurt for oil. In this quick and easy interpretation of creamy basil pesto, I substitute slivered almonds for the traditional pine nuts used in most pestos, and I have also used toasted sunflower seeds (a new “superfood”) for them with delicious results. Feel free to play with it.
All ingredients are tossed into a food processor and combined for an easy clean-up, too. It is best served just-warm, room temperature or cold as a salad, so it is wonderful for alfresco dining on hot summer nights. But don’t leave your plate unattended – keep your eye on the dog.
Pasta with Creamy Avocado and Yogurt Pesto
This is a healthy and quick take on traditional pasta with pesto sauce. All ingredients are tossed into a food processor and combined for an easy clean-up as well. It is best served just-warm, room temperature or cold as a salad, so it is wonderful for alfresco dining on hot summer nights.
1 16 oz. package Dry pasta of choice
½ Bunch (6 oz.) Basil (stems removed)
½ Bunch (6 oz.) Cilantro (stems removed)
1 Handful (6 oz.) Baby Spinach
1 Large Ripe Avocado (pitted)
2 TBS Avocado or Olive Oil
¼ Cup Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
½ Cup Toasted Slivered Almonds
2/3 Cups Finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper or more to taste
Cook off pasta and allow cool so no longer steaming. Do not rinse.
Place toasted almonds, basil, cilantro and spinach in the base of a food processor. Pour oil over the top and pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until all are combined and has the consistency of a creamy salad dressing. Taste and adjust with more salt, pepper or cheese as needed.
In a separate bowl, toss desired amount of pasta and desired amount of sauce until lightly dressed. Top with additional Parmesan cheese and chopped cherry tomatoes, if you wish.
Recipe courtesy of Terryl Gavre
Proprietor, Cafe 222; Co-Proprietor, BANKERS HILL BAR + Restaurant