Chard Pesto

Right now, my garden is an explosion of chard. It was growing well before we took our vacation to Maine at the end of June, but upon returning, everything in the garden just exploded in green! It’s now more than I can keep up with so I’m trying to find all the chard recipes I can, especially ones that preserve some of that green goodness for later this winter.

Last summer, I made a huge batch of kale pesto, which I froze in 1/2 cup servings. It worked out so well, I made another big batch of 7-8 cups again last weekend! I use it in soups, pasta sauces and baked chicken, and its one of my toddler’s favorite pasta toppings!

Since I have so much chard, I wanted to try pesto made just from chard leaves so I made a small, experimental batch using ingredients I had on hand and it turned out great! This week, I added this pesto to grilled yellow squash from the garden, to plain veggie pasta and to a tomato meat sauce topping spinach stuffed shells.

I thought the chard pesto had a clean, fresh and bright flavor, but apparently my toddler wasn’t fooled and he preferred his usual kale pesto pasta. Who knew I was raising a kale lover?

I separated the stems from the leaves as the color will muddle if you have rainbow chard stems. If you can, find another use for the stems or put them in your compost. This pesto will last a couple days in the fridge (the top of the pesto may darken a little, but just give it a good stir), so if you have some leftover, it will freeze well in smaller portions. And feel free to add in some basil to this pesto for an herby touch or use half chard and half kale.

Chard Pesto

Yield: 1.5-2 cups

  • 8-10 leaves of chard, separated from stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Add the first 5 ingredients to a large bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine the ingredients. Slowly add the olive oil and process until the pesto is a bright green and smooth, adding more olive oil, as needed to get the consistency you prefer.


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