Sweet Pea Pesto Crostini and Avocado Spread

Both of these nifty little appetizers are worth their weight in summer gold for the flavor of each far outweighs the difficulty in preparation.  Actually, even using the word difficulty is a misnomer.  Ease would be the word of choice for each of these two spreads/dips/pestos/whatever-you-feel-like-calling-them.


The inspiration for this one came from two places. First, my favorite restaurant in town, Mani Osteria, served a version as their seasonal bruschetta. Though they have hands down the best thin crust pizzas around, it’s their appetizer menu that excites me the most. There’s always something new and  interesting, but then there’s what can already be called classics, the pickled tomatoes and the pork belly. I could go on and on. The basic recipe itself came from my longest lasting cookbook obsession thus far, Dinner: A Love Story, in which it’s called Todd’s Minty Pea Dip.  I simply added basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts to give it more of an Italian pesto-y flair.

Serves several as an appetizer.

  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and give her a whiz!  If it seems thickish, add more lemon, olive oil or even water to give it a creamier consistency.  Garnish with extra pine nuts if you wish. Serve with pita chips, baguette or crostini (follows).

  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced on an angle
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet. Drizzle or brush with olive oil until they have a light coating.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper before toasting in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Serve alongside pea pesto.

Alternatively, you can spread the pesto on the toasts yourself and serve them on a big platter. In this case, I would shave some Parmesan to garnish each along with a pine nut or two.

The following Avocado Pesto comes from my new favorite food blog, Dinner Was Delicious.  Click on over and read their tag line for a guaranteed laugh out loud.  Seriously. Even their recipe writing is hilarious (I think I’ve read through every post so far just for nighttime entertainment). image

They suggest this as an alternative to hummus, which they deem (and I tend to agree) boring. The idea is so akin to guacamole that I was skeptical at first. I love guacamole but didn’t want to change a couple of ingredients and claim to have a whole new recipe.  HOWEVER,  I was proved wrong when I mashed up a bowl for a girls’ dinner the other night.  The lemon and basil actually give it a totally different flavor than the lime and onions of guacamole.  The addition of olive oil makes it creamier.  Serve it up at your next get-together, you’ll see.  Plus, it takes like two seconds to make.

Also, try their Peach and Tomato Salad if you’re grilling meat this summer. There’s still time.



About Liza M.

foodie, francophile, Ann Arborite, teacher, bookworm and self-professed latte-lover--come cook with me!
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8 Responses to Sweet Pea Pesto Crostini and Avocado Spread

  1. Wendy says:

    I can vouch for the pea crostini thing, delicious. I have also taken to reading cookbooks ( dinner: a love story) and food blogs at night, it helps quell the back to school anxiety that is nipping at my neck…okay, about to swallow me whole!

  2. Delish it was indeed, and perfect for patio consumption on a temperate summer evening!

  3. La Torontoise says:

    Dear Liza, I just had the peas and basil ‘tartines’ at lunch today! Was very fresh! The basil gives it a very provençal flavour:- )

    I love the peas and mint tartines which I first discovered in May’13; got it from the Simple Bites blog:
    There, the proportions of peas and Parmesan are different.
    In any case, I did an experiment and it turned out well! The fresh peas in France that I found in my local Monoprix supermarket were a bit watery, so I did not get that tick a spread.
    Greetings from Cannes!!

    • Liza M. says:

      Cannes?! Ah, the South of France eludes me this year. I try to maintain my connection through recipes I suppose. I’m glad you enjoyed the addition of basil to the pea/mint duo. That’s how I like it too. Enjoy your last couple weeks of summer in Cannes!

  4. Liza M. says:

    And wish I had though of “tartine” when listing the different possible names for this recipe-bonne idee!

  5. Karen says:

    Friends are coming for cocktails this evening and the pea crostini will be perfect to serve…thanks.

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