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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pesto meets Vinaigrette: Herbed and Minted

Recently I stumbled upon this Green Chermoula recipe because of a photo that look interesting, but the reviews of it were seriously lacking. And even though I'm still not a fan of cilantro, the ingredients looked intriguing, using both parsley and cilantro with a side of mint and jalapeno.  So I decided to give it a go, knowing I could doctor it up as needed.

Turns out the recipe did need a little help; a splash of lemon and a doubling of the mint and ginger did the trick. The result is an interesting herby, minty, slightly spicy pesto-like vinaigrette that grows on you. The first few tastes didn't totally hook me or my guests, but half way through our meal people were asking for the recipe (and that has happened twice!)

So far I've used this on flat bread pizza, as a spinach salad dressing, drizzled across baked sweet potatoes and then as a light spread on a chicken salad wrap. Talk about versatility! It whips up in seconds, no cooking required. And with these great health benefits (see Happy Health Tips below), adding a second helping is almost a requirement!

Happy Health Tip: Parsley and ginger have anti inflammatory proprieties while cilantro helps to remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body. The extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat that helps protect our brain and liver.

Minty Herbed Pesto and Vinaigrette

1/2 jalapeno (with seeds for extra kick)
1/2 cup parsley, loosely packed
1/2 cup cilantro, loosely packed
1 cup mint, loosely packed
1 thumb fresh ginger, peeled (about 2-3 tbls)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, depending on desired consistency

Place the jalapeno, parsley, cilantro, mint, ginger and lemon in a blender (or food processor.) Pulse to combine and chop everything up. Begin to add in the olive oil while running the blender, letting the all the ingredients combine mince into a paste.

Decide if you want a vinaigrette or a more spreadable pesto, add the oil to get desired consistency; then add a good pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

Spread on bruschetta, over grilled pork, use in place of mayo, drizzle on a salad or over baked potatoes. The uses are really endless.

Will last a few days in the fridge, but allow time to come to room temperature.

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