Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Veggie Sandwiches with Walnut Pesto, Roasted Beets and Walnuts, and Sautéed Beet Greens

Monday, July 14, 2008

Veggie Sandwiches with Walnut Pesto, Roasted Beets and Walnuts, and Sautéed Beet Greens

I actually made this pesto last weekend when I got fresh sweet basil from the farmer's market. I guess I got lazy, then went off on tangents, posting about other things. I remembered as we had these sandwiches again over the weekend to use up the remaining pesto that I had never posted about it!

This is a very basic pesto recipe, nothing special. This was my first time ever making pesto at home and it turned out really well. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts in our pesto as walnuts are far more abundant in the Midwest than pine nuts and are thus much cheaper. I feel a little silly for buying walnuts though as walnut tress grow all over the place in Missouri, I'm just unsure as I don't know what, if anything, they've been sprayed with. People and their stupid chemicals have to ruin all the wild food out there.

When we had these sandwiches over the weekend, I also prepared some beets as sides. I roasted the beetroots drizzled with a little olive oil at 400(F) for about an hour and a half and tossed them with some chopped walnuts and salt and pepper. I also made Sautéed Beet Greens again, this time I used malt vinegar and it was much better, I will edit the recipe. The roasted beets and walnuts weren't the greatest. We made them better by eating the beetroots with the beet greens. It was worth a shot, but we won't be doing that with the beets again.

Anyways, had I not been lazy, I would have made the focaccia that Jessy posted about awhile back, but alas I was being lazy, so both times we made these sandwiches, we just bought a petite loaf of multigrain bread.

Walnut Pesto
2-3 cups fresh sweet basil
1/3 cup walnuts
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup good olive oil
pinch white pepper
pinch salt

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor.

I slathered some pesto on both pieces of the bread (which was warm), I layered on fresh spinach, onions, artichoke hearts (these are optional, we used them the first time we had these as we had a can lying around, we didn't use artichoke hearts the second time we had these), and tomato.

These were the sides. I really like beet greens a lot. I'm thinking that over the winter, we should attempt to grow baby beets, so we'll still get lots of greens, but won't have near as large of beet roots to work with.

'Til next time.


VeggieGirl said...

Between the pesto and the sandwich itself, my mouth is watering!

selina said...

thats funny. i made 1/2 of the bunch of beets i got at the farmer's market & their greens. i actually liked the beet better than the greens, although the greens were good. :0)

i love pesto. i actually have a walnut tree growing in a pot in my yard right now.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Veggie Girl - Haha, thanks it was really good. The olive oil soaks into the bread nicely without making it soggy and the pesto goes really well with fresh veggies.

Selina - Beet greens are great, they are sweet, so I just add a little spicy, 'cause, well, thats how I roll, and beet roots are really good, I just have so few ideas as to what to do with them.

Me too, it's so simple, yet so good.

Seriously, I'm moving in!!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

I love a good gourmet sandwich! Pesto really adds a delicious touch.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Pesto! *Swoons*

I love pesto, especially the green color.

Little Green Blogger said...

Roasted Beets are one of my particular favorites! Here's what I do, maybe it will help you get tastier beets:

I cube the beets into about 1 inch chunks, then toss with light olive oil or whatever baking oil you prefer, add a generous pinch of salt and pepper, toss in a baking dish and roast for about an hour at 375. You need to give them a stir once or twice throughout the cooking.

I'm actually still trying to find a way to prepare beet greens that I really like, I'll have to try your method.

callina said...

Mmm, pesto might be one of my favorite foods, and it's SO much better when you make it yourself! I've never made it with walnuts but was just thinking about this the other day, because my parents have a few walnut trees on their farm, and I'm thinking I should totally stock up when they're ready. :)

Lizzy said...

Oh Jennifer... what are you doing to me? I NEED A SANDWICH LIKE THIS! This sounds like complete heaven, especially with pesto, beets AND artichokes =D
What's the fastest way to get to Missouri?
Isn't homemade pesto the best? I made some when my mom got back and used walnuts for the first time in pesto and loved it!

jessy said...

WOW! your sammie & sides just set off a whirlwind of cravings! mmmmmmmm! and oh yes - that focaccia - it's awesome, but it's a bit time consuming, indeed! the bread that you bought looks wonderful though! and the pesto looks fresh & awesome & soooooo good! i love beets! i hope mine are ready soon - i just can't get enough of them - and the greens are tasty, too! gotta love enjoying the entire veggie! :D

Erin said...

Pesto makes everything better. I've only had beet greens once, but I LOVED them and have been keeping an eye out for full beets.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Lisa - Me too, who says sandwiches have to be "lax" and "regular", make 'em spectacular! The pesto added great flavor and a nice punch of color to the meal.

Katie (Chocolate Covered) - Hehehe. Me too the color is gorgeous!

Little Green Blogger - Thanks very much for the tip. We roasted ours whole, with the skins still on them (that's how I found to prepare them online). Let's just say, they had to cook forever to get done, lost most of their flavor, and the skins DID NOT "peel right off" as the website claimed.

I'll have to try them your way, cubed, I bet they get done a lot better that way.

Callina - It's so good, I want to make a pizza with it as the sauce. I've been "hinting" to Brett that he needs to work on his pizza crust recipe again. I think I'll grow plenty of basil inside over the winter. It'll be nice to have a treat like freshly made pesto in January.

You seriously should! Seriously!

Lizzy - Hahahahaha! It was REALLY easy to make, I recommend it.

I would guess the fastest way to Missouri from your neck of the woods would be by plane unless you can find a time traveling device. ;-)

I love pesto with walnuts, I don't think I'll ever make it any other way now. Do you know if you can freeze pesto?

Jessy - Haha, thank you, I think.... :-)

Can't you see why I thought that focaccia would have complemented this sandwich perfectly?

Hey, I like beets a lot too, but am rather uncreative with them, if you got any ideas, send 'em my way, please!

I hope your beets get ready soon. I bet it's hard watching them slowly grow! And yes, getting to eat the whole veggies is super awesome.

Erin - I think so too.

Beet greens are super tasty. I learned, doing some research, that you can even grow beets inside simply for their greens. The beetroot will never get very large, but you'll have plenty of greens.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

Just today I was thinking I HAVE to try roasting beets. I've been afraid of them till now. But now I don't feel so sure anymore! Maybe I'll just try making pesto for the first time ;-)

Bianca said...

I really need to make some pesto. It's totally basil season and I've yet to make any this year!

Thanks for the tip on the jalapenos. I knew you would know what to do! In fact, while my hands were burning last night (they still do today under hot water), I was thinking, "I bet this happens to Jennifer all the time!"

Anonymous said...

Isn't homemade pesto the best?! I got some basil at the farmers market a few weekends ago and made some myself--pesto is so fresh and good!


JAM said...

I'm new to your site - Chile pointed me over here. I'm also newly vegan (again - Chile's influence!) I made some of your pesto this evening and it is really great. I put one jar in the freezer and have a half jar to use for now. I have a question though - I have a Cuisinart blender, and I have a small food processor base that my handheld blender fits into. I tried first using the Cuisinart, since it's this huge powerful thing and other than making smoothies I never use it. Your directions said to use a food processor, but I have read lots of other pesto recipes that said to use a blender. Well, the blades just whirred everything to the side and I couldn't get it to blend. After much frustration, I transferred it to the small food processor base, and it worked fine with the hand blender powering it. Is it just hard to make pesto in a blender, or is there some tip that I should know to make it work better? I thought it would be a good thing to use because of it's bigger volume, and it's way more powerful, but even pulsing on low it just spun everything away from the blades. Any help on this would be very much appreciated! I feel guilty that I have this expensive blender and never use it. Thanks.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Alice - Don't not make them on my account, I honestly think I did it wrong. I WOULD, however, recommend making pesto, it's so easy and so good.

Bianca - You should, it is!

Haha, no problem, I have had "burning hands" too many times to count. I've made the mistake of touching sensitive areas, and I've even ended up with "burning face" by taking a shower after I cut up some habaneros and washing my face, no pleasant. I think my hands are starting to develop a tolerance...

Courtney - It is. Mmm, nothing better.

Jam - Welcome! And congrats on going vegan, I hope you aren't having too difficult of a time with your transition. If so, you've got plenty of resources at your disposal now! :-)

I'm glad you liked the pesto. I read your question, wishing I had some sort of awesome advice for you, but to be honest, I don't even have a blender. I would have figured it would blend it since a lot of people put greens in smoothies and they blend in just find. Are there perhaps different blade attachments? Perhaps there is one more suited. Otherwise, I guess it's the food processor for pesto.

I bet your blender would work great on salsa and other sauce recipes, you could whip yourself up a batch in no time, especially if it's powerful. Nothing beats fresh salsa, but if you look at my recipe index you can see I have a slight "hot pepper issue".

If you ever need any advice anything, you know where to find me. ;-)

Cookiemouse said...

That pesto looks delicious. Pesto always makes a great sandwich and it is a very easy way to make a pasta dish, if one is in a hurry.

JAM said...

Thanks Jennifer. I think the reason greens work in smoothies is more water to catch everything together - this was kind of dry at first. The salsa idea is great - I will definitely try that as soon as we get some tomatoes ready. I also want to try gazpacho - I had some recently and really liked it, and thought it would be a good use of veggies if we get overrun soon.

Being vegan so far hasn't been too hard, although sometimes I really want some butter or ice cream. I appreciate your offer of help though, I'm sure I'll need it!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Cookiemouse - Thanks it was really tasty, I'll definitely do it again. I'm thinking I need to grow my own basil now.

Good idea, I know pasta is the "traditional" way pesto is served, but I always forget about that.

Jam - More liquid, good point, the pesto is fairly dry and thick at first, even after you add the oil, it is nowhere near as liquidy as a smoothie.

Oooh, gazpacho, yum!

Haha, dairy is often the most difficult thing for people to give up. I am slightly allergic to dairy, so I gave it up before I even became a vegetarian, but I do still miss ranch dressing. I tried one vegan variety, it was, well, not good.

I'm always here to help in any way I can, you can find my email at the right hand side of the page too if you want to ask questions personally.

Lizzy said...

my mom freezes pesto a lot and it works like a charm =)

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