Parsley, Lemon, and Walnut Pesto on Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The weather this weekend brought smiles to every face in Minneapolis. Clear skies, bright sun, and a temperature that seemed to hover contently at about 72 degrees–the combination was like an injection of happy. Everyone I passed on my morning runs, and afternoon walks was grinning. There is something so magical about the first week that really feels like spring!

And what better way to celebrate great weather than sitting on a back porch with friends, eating delicious grilled vegan food? Nothin’. That’s the answer. Nothing is better, so that’s exactly what I participated in. We had friends over both Friday and Saturday to enjoy our back porch, and to toast the first grill-use of the year.

Mike makes a mind-blowing marinade (hopefully he’ll figure out his exact formula so I can post it soon), which we slathered on eggplant, brussels sprouts, and portabello mushrooms. On Friday, our guests also brought beets–if you haven’t had a grilled beet, do it soon! They get so crispy, and burst with flavor!

On Saturday, I wanted to make a side to accompany all of our grilled veggie goodness. I remembered seeing a recipe for pesto sweet potatoes in this month’s issue of Whole Living, and because pesto is green, I thought it’d be a perfect St. Patty’s Day side dish.

Since the recipe is posted on the Whole Living website, I can re-post it here. I made a couple very minor adjustments, so feel free to check out the original if you’re curious.

Parsley, Lemon, and Walnut Pesto on Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from this recipe.

2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch wedges

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (the original calls for 6; add more if you desire)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 clove chopped garlic

1/2 cup raw walnuts

Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet.  Roast for about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, pulse parsley, garlic, walnuts, zest, and lemon juice in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Drizzle olive oil oil and process until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Top roasted sweet potatoes with pesto (I had about 2 T leftover), and place back in the oven for about 8 more minutes.

Everyone loved these. And I’m really excited to use the leftover pesto on something else. Pesto is so versatile! And even though I don’t really remember what real pesto tastes like, I think vegan versions are magnificent!

We had some leftover potatoes, so I made a salad out of them for dinner tonight. Just mixed greens, the pesto potatoes, and some guacamole. Yum!

How was your weekend? Was the weather good where you live too?

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