Chill California Pesto


You can live in Arizona your whole life and still go into early May, thinking, summer here isn’t really that much like a solar oven placed under a magnifying glass.  You might think, psh, we native Arizonans can walk around outside for hours and be alright.  But then summer comes and slaps that thinking down with its 110+ degree glare and sends you running for your huffing AC and lukewarm swimming pools.

It’s alright; when we can finally fan our faces down to a reasonable temperature, we’ll start to deal with reality the best way we can.  Summer food.

The food we make that takes us to places and/or climates we’d rather be experiencing, or that at least helps us to forget our own stickiness in the company of the friends we share it with (‘it’ being the food, not the stickiness...)

You know.  The iced teas, the spicy grilled chicken, the white sangrias, the juicy hunks of watermelon… it gets a body by in the wrath of the desert sun.


Therefore, here and now, to prepare for the worst while I can still hardly picture it, I am kicking off this season of swimsuits and sunblock (spf 45+) with my favorite recipes to keep us slim and satisfied.

I decided with a healthy noodle-topper with a wistfully Californian vibe.  Even better, it can make a super scrumptious cold pasta salad just as well as it makes a hot dinner.

Have you guessed the Cali contribution yet?

I’m using avocados and lemon.  Surprised?  Not so much.


Chill California Pesto

  • 2 avocados, peeled + pitted
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli florets, thawed
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 freshly squeezed lemon’s juice
  • ¼ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ c. sliced, no skin on, almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all items in a food processor and blend until smooth, adjusting seasonings to taste.  Pretty simple.

Your options are now to mix in pasta or rice and chill until serving, or heat in a large sauce pan and pour over hot noodles or rice for a dinner in.  I promise, both are good ideas.  I can’t promise, however, that leaving your house without a jug of ice water or placing a single bare foot on asphalt in an Arizona summer are good ideas.  Just in case you forgot.