A recipe for Swiss Chard Salsa Verde caught my attention. When I read the list of ingredients, it seemed more like a pesto to me even though it didn’t include nuts or cheese. I began to wonder about the technical definitions of pesto and salsa verde.
According to Oxford, pesto is “a sauce of crushed basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, typically served with pasta.” Salsa verde is “an Italian sauce made with olive oil, garlic, capers, anchovies, vinegar or lemon juice, and parsley” OR “a Mexican sauce of finely chopped onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, and hot peppers.” Who knew that salsa verde was anything but Mexican?
I still think this is more like a pesto, so I’m going to call it one.
Buy rainbow or red Swiss chard for a more colorful pesto, although green will taste just fine. If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the Swiss chard stems, ribs and leaves by hand.
Use leftover pesto (and you will have leftover pesto) on roasted vegetables, pasta and rice. This dish also makes a great mayo-free alternative to potato salad. If you prefer a traditional pesto, try 5-Minute Homemade Pesto.
Swiss Chard Pesto
- small bunch of Swiss chard preferably rainbow (enough to yield about 1-1/2 cups of chopped leaves)
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
- zest from 1 small lemon
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Remove ribs and stems from chard leaves and coarsely chop. Pulse a few times in a food processor (you want some chunks) and remove to a large bowl.
- Coarsely chop chard leaves. Pulse a few times in a food processor and add to the bowl containing the chopped stems.
- Add shallot, chives and lemon zest to the bowl. Stir in oil and vinegar and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.