Chive and Parsley Pesto ~ a spring green pesto sauce that goes rogue without a trace of basil. Don’t save it just for pasta, use it on fish, chicken, sandwiches, burgers, or slather it on fresh baked bread.
Just in case you were ever curious about what this food blogger loves to eat most on a busy night, this is a great example. My favorite quick evening meals are simple, and usually meatless, like this vibrant chive and parsley pesto tossed with pasta. Pesto lovers will love this fresh take on the classic basil pesto.
Homemade pesto is one of my favorite sauces, so it takes a lot for me to want to fool with it in any way. Basil is a powerful and unique flavor and has become synonymous with pesto, so it’s hard to think about replacing it, but trust me, work through your hesitation and you’ll be rewarded. Even perfect foods can be changed up with good results, and this easy herb sauce is proof. The light oniony flavor of chives is brightened and lightened with fresh parsley and it’s every bit as good as a traditional pesto sauce.
I’ve added toasted walnuts, a little lemon juice, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and plenty of grassy extra virgin olive oil to make this delicious spring sauce. Just a few seconds of whizzing in a food processor does the job.
TIP: I always always always taste my pesto at least once or twice before I commit it to my pasta. It might need salt, or another squeeze of lemon, and the only way to know is to taste.
The sauce stays nice and bright green, which is important to me. I want to see that vibrant spring green, not just taste it!
TIP: make extra when you find fresh chives, and then freeze the sauce for later. Spoon it into an ice cube tray, freeze, then pop out the cubes and store them in a zip lock freezer bag.
How to grow your own chives ~
Chives are super easy to grow, so definitely give them a try. With their mild onion flavor they’re one of the more versatile herbs in the kitchen.
- Chives are perennials, meaning they’ll come back year after year.
- Chives are cold tolerant, and you can grow them in zones 3-10. When I lived in New Hampshire my chives lived through the snowstorms and came right back each spring.
- Plant chives in early spring. They need good sun and lots of water.
- Chives grow great in large pots, mine were in a half barrel by my back door and it was such a luxury to go out and snip them whenever a dish needed a little something extra.
- The plant produces pretty edible flowers in May and June.
How can I preserve chives?
- The best way to preserve fresh chives is to freeze them.
- Wash and let them dry completely. Chop or snip them into small pieces.
- Put the chopped chives on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.
- Load them into zip lock freezer bag, remove any excess air, and zip closed.
- Use them from frozen, don’t thaw.
Chive and Parsley Pesto ~ Don't save it just for pasta, use it on fish, chicken, sandwiches, burgers, or slather it on fresh baked bread.
- 1 packed cup of fresh parsley leaves (small stems are ok, but remove larger ones)
- 2 packed cups fresh chives, rough chopped
- 1 clove peeled garlic
- juice of 1 lemon (2-3 Tbsp)
- a handful of walnuts (toast them in a 350F oven for 10 minutes for more flavor)
- 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil, more if needed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 lb spaghetti
- Put the pesto ingredients in a food processor and pulse until broken down. Scrape down the sides of the container, then process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the container again as necessary. Process in the olive oil until the pesto loosens into a sauce consistency. Taste and adjust any of the ingredients to your liking.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of salted water just until al dente. Toss with a generous amount of pesto, and serve immediately.