Rainbow Chard Pesto

by Erin

Who says pesto can only be made with basil? Throw in hearty and colorful rainbow chard for an earthy yet nutty flavored pesto.

Rainbow Chard Pesto 1

I realize that making recipes utilizing things growing in your garden may not apply anymore this time of year. But if you’re lucky enough to have some rainbow chard still hanging on, might I suggest tossing it all into a food processor to make pesto? I’ve made pesto from just about any leafy green but this one was particularly fun because I saved the colorful stalks, chopped them up, and tossed the in with pasta when I added the pesto. It’s kinda of like a pasta salad at that point!

Rainbow Chard Pesto 3

In other news, today is my first day at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I cannot recall how much I shared on the blog as the last few months have been grueling at work preparing the lab for the move, with the actual move last week testing the strength of the last thread I was surviving on, but long story short the lab at Ohio State in which I have worked for the last 4 years moved to NCH. My job will be the same, just different scenery! And yet so much is changing that don’t necessarily impact the daily job life itself. Some good, some not as good but overall should be a good thing in the long run! Here’s hoping, but for now it’s orientation all day.

Rainbow Chard Pesto 2

Two years ago: Baked Chocolate Doughnut Holes with Peanut Butter Glaze

Five years ago: Krispie Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

Six years ago: Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Guiltless Goat Cheese Alfredo


Makes approximately 2 cups


3 cloves garlic, peeled

3 oz. Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (freshly shredded is fine)

2 cups fresh Rainbow chard leaves, stems removed (chop and save if desired)

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 lemon, zested

1-1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes (optional)

3/4-1 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic. Turn on and add cheese through the feed tube. Continue processing until cheese is finely chopped.
  2. Add basil, pine nuts, lemon zest, salt and pepper (and cayenne if desired). Process 2-3 seconds, then gradually add olive oil through the feed tube. Continue processing until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour into an air-tight container, and top with a small amount of olive oil. Store in the refrigerator.

Source: Adapted from my Homemade Basil Pesto.

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Susan November 5, 2018 - 9:20 am

I’m not a big fan of basil pesto, even though basil has long been one of my favorite herbs. This chard pesto, though, sounds quite interesting. I like the idea of adding the stems to the pasta – a good way to get your veggies. Congratulations on surviving the lab move. Hope all goes well for you at the new location.

spiffycookie November 7, 2018 - 8:05 pm

Fresh basil pesto is one of my favorite things. But I like playing with other greens like I did here.


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