Inspired by the beautiful late-summer produce at the farmers market last weekend and a gorgeous Japanese green tea sample I recently received from Tea Horse, a super simple and gorgeously green pesto seemed like the perfect weeknight project.
Tea Horse is a tea company based in the U.K. whose business model is subscription driven—when you become a member of their tea club, you receive a selection of carefully curated teas each month. What a cool way to try new teas! I was lucky enough to receive a few samples of their teas of the month to play around with in my Tea Foodie kitchen. One of the samples they sent was their Sencha Fukujyu, a super fresh, steamed green tea from Japan. “Fukujyu” translates to “green spider leg”, which describes perfectly the appearance of the thinly rolled, needle like green tea leaves. It has a grassy, sweet aroma and tastes almost like fresh-picked herbs when steeped. Which is why I was inspired to add it as an ingredient to a fresh herb pesto.
The great thing about this pesto recipe is there are so many ways you can spin it. Simply swap out the Sencha for your favorite green tea, use a variety of different herbs, choose your favorite nuts, or experiment with flavored oils. There are also so many ways to enjoy it. I tossed it with farmers market cherry tomatoes and fresh sweet corn, but it would also be great with some goat cheese and crackers or as a spread on a turkey and roasted red pepper hummus wrap. The possibilities are endless…and delicious.
P. S. If you like cooking with green tea, you might like these other Tea Foodie posts:
Fresh Herb and Green Tea Pesto
By Suzanne Klein, Tea Foodie. Inspired by the Spicy Green Tea Pesto recipe from Philly.com.)
Makes about 1 cup
2 tablespoons loose leaf Sencha green tea (I used Sencha Fukujyu from Tea Horse)
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1 bunch of cilantro leaves (about 3 cups loosely packed)
1 bunch of mint leaves (about 1 cup loosely packed)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3 to 2/3 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon rice wine vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1. Grind the green tea into a powder using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
2. Use the fine shredder blade of the food processor to shred the Parmesan cheese directly into the food processor bowl. Swap out the shredder for the steel blade, and add the pumpkin seeds, herbs, and garlic to the bowl. Process for about 30 seconds until the mixture is well combined and resembles a paste.
3. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl and add 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Process until oil is incorporated and has smoothed out the paste. Stop here if you’d like the pesto to remain thick like a spreadable paste, or add more oil and even a little water if you want to thin it out a bit more.
4. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl, add the vinegar, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
5. Place the pesto in a sealable container and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- The powdered green tea and ground pumpkin seeds both add a bittersweet flavor to the pesto, so it’s great paired with something that has a little sweetness or tang to balance out the bitterness, such as cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, sweet peas, roasted red peppers or goat cheese.
- There are so many ways to adjust this recipe and alter the flavor. Try one of these options:
- Play around with various green teas, like Gunpowder, Hojicha or Matcha.
- Swap out the pumpkin seeds for walnuts, pine nuts or almonds.
- Try it with other fresh herbs, like parsley, basil, chives, or lemon balm.
- Increase the amount of garlic cloves for a bigger fresh garlic bite.
- Replace some of the olive oil with walnut oil, sesame oil, or chile oil.
- Use sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar.