Genoa, Italy inspired me with her simple yet amazing cuisine. A restaurant could put three ingredients I’d never expected to see together on a plate with an extra drizzle of olive oil, and I was enchanted! Octopus + potatoes + sweet peppers = delicious. Cod + black olives + parsley = amazing! But my mind was really blown the first time I experienced Genovese potato salad – potatoes, green beans, and pesto – a combination made in HEAVEN!
Really, pesto goes with everything, as the Genovese know so well. But potatoes and green beans? Whaaaat?! Broke the box that I was operating from inside of, so when my take from the farmer’s market included a ginormous bunch of basil, zucchini, and a tangle of green beans and one of my favorite clients requested gluten-free & dairy-free menu, my little avoiding-processed-starchesat-the-moment-brain brightened up and said HEY! I AM THINKING WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. Because, that’s literally what brains do. They think.
I was thinking of combining pasta pesto and this amazing potato salad, super-Cali-fragilistic style. Zucchini noodles + dairy free pesto + green beans + Kalamata olives + extra toasted pine nuts AND some sunflower seed sprouts. The results were AMAZING and I nearly didn’t get a picture because I started eating immediately.
- 3 c basil leaves
- 1 c pine nuts (walnuts, cashews, or almonds will do – pine nuts are pricey! Buy if you can in bulk foods sections or wholesale clubs like Costco for the best deal)
- ½ c extra virgin olive oil
- 3 – 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one large lemon
- Salt to taste
- 3 large zucchini, “zoodled” with a spiralizer, julienne peeler, or mandoline
- 1 lb kabocha squash, cut into ½” dice
- 1 lb green beans, cut into ½” lengths
- 1 c pitted kalamata olives
- 1 c sunflower sprouts (optional)
- ½ c prepared pesto to start, add more to taste
- ¼ – ½ c pine nuts (do not substitute here)
- For the pesto, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. You may have to add an extra drizzle of oil. Salt to your liking.
- Zoodle your zucchinis or summer squashes however is convenient.
- Place the green beans and kabocha squash together in a steamer and steam for 6 minutes. The squash will be just right and the beans will still be bright green.
- While you steam, toast the pine nuts in a 400 degree oven or toaster oven for 5 minutes, until they begin to turn golden.
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except for the pine nuts.
- Stir the pesto through well and taste.
- Add salt and extra pesto as necessary.
- Garnish with toasted pine nuts, and enjoy!
PS – I added pesto-baked chicken pieces to my client’s for a little extra protein, but this dish really doesn’t need it. I just ate it without, and am literally “buzzing” from the raw food “high”!