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Collard and Sunflower Seed Pesto with Roasted Beets


In the quest to stay healthy this winter, there is no substitute for providing your immune defenses with a well-stocked toolkit. Vitamins A, D, E, and zinc are among the tools that let our systems function optimally. Deficiency of any can lead to increased risk of catching the cold or flu. Fortunately, we get most of these tools from eating a varied and nutritious diet. Once place to start is those famous dark leafy greens. The following recipe will get you started in giving your immune system the raw materials it needs to thrive this winter. 


2 medium
beets, peeled (sliced)
1 bunch
collard greens (de-stemmed)
1⁄2 cup
raw sunflower seeds
2 clove
1⁄2 lb
egg noodles
1⁄4 cup
Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp
olive oil (plus extra for finish)
1 tbsp
lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp
black pepper, freshly ground (to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel the beets and cut into ¼ inch thick slices. Toss with olive oil in a baking dish, and pepper to taste. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the sunflower seeds in a dry pan over medium-low heat. Stir the seeds every few minutes until they begin to color, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Prepare the collard greens by cutting away the center rib. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. Add the collards and cook for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer cooked collards to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
  4. In a food processor, combine toasted seeds, garlic, salt, and Parmesan. Process the mixture into fine, uniform crumbs. Remove collards from water and squeeze dry. Add collards and the lemon juice to the food processor. Process until combined.
  5. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package. Drain pasta, add the pesto, and stir to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil if needed. Serve topped with the roasted beets.


Sunflower seeds are an alternative to pine nuts in this bright, nutritious pesto.

Collard and Sunflower Seed Pesto with Roasted Beets


SourceCopyright 2015, L. Diehl, Original recipe
Prep time
45 minutes
Cooking time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour, 45 minutes