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Crave: Tasty Toppings

Image thanks to TheHungryDudes

I absolutely love multi-functional foods. Things like tasty toppings, sauces, and dips that can be used in multiple ways.

Some of my favorites are pesto, salsa, and tapenade

These are fresh, flavorful, and so simple to make.

They are also completely versatile.

Are you getting tired of the same old thing? Or looking for flavors to kick up your pasta or make your sandwich snappier?

Then these recipes are perfect for you…

Basil Pesto:

So delicious. The traditional recipe calls for toasted pine nuts, but if they are hard to find or too expensive, I have found walnuts to work just as well.

2 cups fresh basil, packed
¼ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on your preference)
salt and freshly ground cracked pepper to taste

Lightly toast the pine nuts or walnuts by stirring in a dry sauté pan over medium heat (3-4 minutes). Allow to cool.

Add garlic cloves, basil, and nuts into a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Then add grated cheese and blend while adding olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.

Olive Tapenade:

Tapenade is a great, flavorful, and naturally salty dip. Great as a spread on a sandwich.

1 cup pitted Greek olives  (Kalamata recommended)
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp fresh parsley or basil, chopped
1 tbsp capers (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend until it is a coarse paste (it is not meant to be smooth).

Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow flavors to combine.

Salsa Fresca:

Salsa isn’t just for dipping. This light and ultra-fresh salsa recipe is great to use as a topping for anything from seafood to scrambled eggs.

3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 fresh jalapenos seeded and with the ribs removed, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
sea salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and season to taste with sea salt.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before eating for best flavor.

Enjoy!

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