A Failed Memory – My Green Pea Pesto 2

First – Welcome to my own web domain!! Thanks to my friend Ares and his outstanding patience, it is up and running.

He’s vegetarian, so it seems appropriate to write about a vegetarian dish. Don’t worry, I am not giving up food like the potatoes fried in bacon fat we had for dinner two nights ago. However, there are tons of delicious vegetarian dishes. Just ask his mom. I never missed meat when I ate at their house.

I discovered Green Pea Pesto in grad school. While in grad school I worked in a small kitchen store for nine months. Reading cookbooks was a requirement – the best part of my job. Testing the recipe was a “suggestion.” Talking about the food with customers was a must, and I talked about this recipe a lot.

In Pestos, Tapenades & Spreads, by Stacey Printz, I discovered Green Pea Pesto. On the back of a receipt, I copied the ingredients. Somewhere between making the recipe, leaving the store, and two apartment moves, I lost the piece of paper.


Without my list, I made it from memory. Soon, I discovered how bad my memory is. Juju’s mom gave me a copy of Pestos, Tapenades & Spreads. Turns out, the pesto called for nuts and garlic, and didn’t include lemon. Maybe I should feel lucky to have such a poor memory? My version is cheaper and the touch of acid brings out the peas in a beautiful, bright way.

(I recommend checking out Pestos, Tapenades & Spreads when you get a chance. It’s packed with great ways to jazz up a meal. Just don’t be afraid to tweak the recipes as you see fit.)

My Green Pea Pesto
Serves 4-6

The minimal amount of olive oil makes this a very low fat pesto and a great guilt free snack. A word of caution – use a light hand with the salt. Once you add the cheese it will increase the salt a lot. I like to serve this with toasted bread and vegetables.

2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
½ cup packed basil leaves
3 TBS lemon juice (roughly 1 lemon)
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste
3 TBS olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the peas and basil until roughly chopped and basil has been fully integrated. Add lemon juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Pulse until fully incorporated. Check seasonings and adjust as needed.
Note: Be careful not to puree the pesto or you will end up with pea soup. You want to keep some of the texture from the peas.

Transfer pesto into a medium bowl. Fold in the Parmesan. Check seasonings one last time and serve.

Alternate Option
Cool Green Pea Pesto Pasta

Serves 4

I make this with whatever vegetables are hanging out in the fridge. Here I had half a zucchini, half a yellow squash, and half an orange bell pepper. The sweetness of the bell pepper works well with the peas. Also for the pasta, I like to use something with a little more surface area than a Plain-Jane penne. It really helps the pasta grab onto the pesto; but if penne’s what you have, it’ll work too.

6 ounces pasta, cooked and cooled
1 cup Green Pea Pesto
1 cup vegetables, chopped

Put pasta, pesto, and vegetables in a bowl. Gently fold together. Serve cold.

Recipe in print-friendly format

About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “A Failed Memory – My Green Pea Pesto