Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto

November 3, 2008


This past weekend, I took the train to Montreal to visit with the CFO (unfortunately, the HH stayed at home on dog duty, as our regular doggie daycare was closed and it was too late to find an alternative).  Just before I left, though, I was delighted to learn that I’d been awarded the “E for Excellence” award by Misty over at Mischief blog!  Misty is also the owner of 2 adorable dogs (check out their Halloween duds!) who often appear on her blog (plus lots of yummy food, of course).  Sorry it’s taken me so long to acknowledge this, Misty, as I ran off on Friday and just returned yesterday evening.  It’s much appreciated and I’m so glad you think my blog is excellent!  Thanks so much. 🙂


While lovely nonetheless, the visit was over in a flash, filled with a cocktail party, brunch with the family, a birthday lunch with friends, and a stroll through the area known as the Plateau (fascinating, isn’t it, how 90% of social activities revolve around food?  Sorry, what’s that you say? What do you mean, it’s just me–??).  Since my birthday (sort of) coincided with the CFO’s annual cocktail party, we combined celebrations. As the HH remarked before I left, this year I seem to be enjoying The Birthday That Wouldn’t End.  But who am I to argue?

Let me tell you, that CFO sure knows how to throw a party! The menu featured several vegan options, as well as a few gluten-free choices (though, if I remember correctly, the two never overlapped in a single hors d’oeuvre). Still, there was plenty for me to eat and drink, such as tapenade-topped mini-toasts; an apple-pecan butter-cracker combo; crudités and spinach dip; thai rice salad with peppers, cilantro and mango; spanakopita; plus a few others I’ve forgotten (and don’t even get me started on the desserts).  Saturday afternoon was reserved for a leisurely lunch with my old buddies Phil, Linda and Babe, and on Sunday morning, my family brunched at a restaurant I’d not heard of before, called Orange, where they offer the most astonishingly boundless bowls of steaming, perfectly creamy yet nubby oatmeal, capped with your choice of imaginative toppings, from fresh berries to cinnamon-apple pie filling to walnuts and coconut doused in maple syrup.  

Still, it was good to be home. That final stretch of the journey always seems to elicit in me a certain psychic restlessness, the desire to stretch, stand up and stroll the length of car as the train approaches Toronto. No matter how many times I leave and return, I still experience that familiar ripple of excitement and anticipation, the tingle in the chest, when I first catch a glimpse of city life twinkling in the distance beyond the blanket of black outside the window.  Slowly, the number of flickering lamps or silhouettes in apartment windows multiplies, then the glaring neon billboards make their appearance above highway overpasses, and cars’ flashing headlights join the symphony of movement and glitter. Before I know it we’re within reach of the CN tower and the station beneath the Royal York Hotel, the buzz of the downtown humming up through the rails.  Toronto, with its denizens crowding the streets at 11:00 PM, knots of taxis and buses jammed in front of the station, the clang of the train and roar of the subway and yips emanating from staggering groups of twenty-somethings as they exit the bars after midnight. . . yep, it’s good to be home.

As it turned out, we didn’t “do” Halloween this year.  Due to both my absence and The Girls’ xenophobic reaction to strangers at the door (read: frenzied barking and growling, at a volume of around 120 decibels), the HH chose to forgo the treats.  Still, like many of you, we do have a surfeit of pumpkin and pumpkin seeds left in the house.  I remembered this recipe and thought it would be a perfect way to use the pepitas.

I call this mixture “pesto,” but it can also be used on its own as a spread for crackers or bread.  In fact, the inspiration came shortly after I sampled roasted garlic for the first time and was immediately transported. As I recall, the HH and I were served an entire head of garlic once at a restaurant, the top sliced clean across and the pudgy exposed cloves baked to a rich, earthy mahogany, glistening with a sheen of olive oil.  We squeezed the garlic from the papery casing like toothpaste from the tube, spreading the softened, caramelized pulp on fresh slices of bagette.  It was heavenly, and we polished off the entire thing in minutes.

Garlic smell?  Yes, heavenly. When baked, its scent is subdued, sweet, and alluring. It’s one of my favorite foods, and I use it as often as I can.  In this pesto, the garlic adds richness and a smooth base for the grainy pumpkinseeds, contrasted perfectly with the cilantro and citrus tang of the lemon zest and juice.  You can use this spread directly on crackers, as I like to do, or toss it with pasta (save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin it out a bit and create a slight creaminess to the mix). Or, hey–I bet it would even be great as a snack while you mull over some election results!

Since this recipe uses both garlic and cilantro, I thought it would be perfect for Weekend Herb Blogging, newly managed by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once).  This week’s host is Wiffy of Noob Cook.

Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto


This dish is great for your heart, and also terrific for flu season: both garlic and pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants, and the pumpkinseeds contain zinc, essential for fighting viruses and bacteria.  



33 Responses to “Roasted Garlic and Pumpkinseed Pesto”

  1. Andrea Says:

    This sounds amazing, fabulous, heavenly. I can’t wait to try it.

  2. VeggieGirl Says:

    Hooray for a blogging award, and SENSATIONAL pesto!!

  3. Of course your blog is excellent; I’ve known that for a long time.

    I’ve never had vegan pesto. How sad is that?

  4. Diann Says:

    This pesto has all my favorite ingredients – pepitas, cilantro, and garlic. I have a similar recipe, but this looks better. Can’t wait to try it.

    Birthdays should always be celebrated as long as possible. I always use “it’s almost my birthday” and “I just had a birthday.”

  5. lisa Says:

    Your pesto sounds amazing, I’ve bookmarked the recipe to try sometime soon. I too love fresh-roasted garlic squeezed onto some quality bread. And the smell – mmmmm…

  6. BitterSweet Says:

    Excellent idea! I still have a ton of pepitas in my freezer that I keep forgetting about, so this would be the perfect way to use some of them up.

  7. Johanna Says:

    sounds like a great round of birthday celebrations and a nice fresh dip to return to – no matter how good the food is while away I always think it is nice to return to home cooking! But I am curious that you talk about pumpkin seeds as though they are seasonal – have never thought of them that way – do people in Canada and America eat more pumpkin seeds at this time of year?

  8. Oooohh–you had me at “roasted garlic.”

    I’ll definitely be trying this when I have a blender or food processer again.

  9. Ricki Says:

    Definitely time to try it! Besides, you can use the food processor for it–so it’s made for you! 😉

    I love that idea! Might just be able to keep it going for the other 11 months that way! 😉

    I was thinking that people might have seeds they scooped out of their pumpkins for Halloween. We used to wash and roast them in our house. 🙂

  10. vegyogini Says:

    Ooh, I have a surplus of pepitas! This looks really good. 🙂 Congratulations on your Excellence award!

  11. Lisa Says:

    What a creative pesto! I can’t wait to try it.

  12. shellyfish Says:

    Personally, we celebrate “Birthday Week”, because one day is just not enough! This sounds really yummy, I have to try it (and geeze your rice cakes look so fancy!)

  13. Vegetation Says:

    Mmmmm I REALLY have to try this! It sounds (and looks)incredible!

  14. Ricki Says:

    I like that idea! I thought the rice cakes were so cool: they’ve got nori flakes baked into the tops 🙂

  15. veganjay Says:

    I love that pesto! I’m gonna print this recipe fro future reference because I always have a lot of cillatro left. Awesome Photo and Awesome Blog!

  16. Happy Birthday! I love birthdays that never end…I stretched mine out a week this year.

  17. Misty Says:

    Glad you had a nice trip. I agree that most social events tend to center on food, and I’m not complaining! Happy Birthday!

  18. mihl Says:

    Congrats on the award! I think the pesto should be rated excellent too.

  19. Courtney Says:

    Yum–I love roasted garlic! And what a great idea to use pumpkin sees…I can’t wait to try it!


  20. What a lovely post! You should write a beautiful novel about a very colorful character living in a wonderfully whimsical town. The part where you described the final stretch of the journey made me feel like I feel whenever I read Jane Eyre. Plus I have some apple cake here to make it all even better! 😛

    The pesto looks amazing! So green and vibrant, what a great way to use up those leftover pumpkin seeds!

  21. As soon as I am over this juice fasting, this is so going on my first week back on food list. So hungry for something that is not juice. Your recipes never fail to tempt!

  22. holler Says:

    Mmmmmmmmm. lovely! Although all that talk of food has made me hungry! There were some lovely options on that menu!

  23. Ricki Says:

    Thanks all, for the good wishes!

    Roasted garlic is just the best, isn’t it??

    Hope it didn’t create the same scary atmosphere as Jane Eyre! 😉

    Thanks! Good luck with the fast.

    I’m going to ask for some of those recipes so I can reproduce them, so you might just get to taste them!

  24. Lucy Says:

    You know, when I come home from Sydney, I cry at the sight of Melbourne. Each time the captain says ‘welcome home’, my eyes start to leak…but it does the same when the plane lands in Sydney, too…home is a good place to be, no?

  25. melody Says:

    That pesto looks and sounds delicous!

  26. ttfn300 Says:

    ooh, spread some lovin on me 🙂

  27. noobcook Says:

    Hi! I totally love this beautiful looking pesto. The photography looks like something right out of a magazine/cook book, so pretty and stylish. Thanks for sharing your delicious pesto creation with whb! =)

    btw, I found your post thru my incoming link. Could I confirm with you that have not sent me any email yet (in case there is something wrong with my email; don’t want to miss any submissions)… thanks =)

  28. Celine Says:

    oooh, Montreal! I dream of going there some day. you totally deserve the award. and that pesto? totally gorgeous.

  29. Patty Says:

    Even the title of this blog post alone made me salivate. Thanks for the great recipe!

  30. giz Says:

    Roasted garlic – oh yeeaaahhh – mixed with pumpkin seeds – yup, I’m there. Thanks for the info on antioxidants and preventatives.

  31. I was just thinking a pumpkin pesto would be awesome (and make use of all the pumpkin I keep hoarding) you rock Ricki!

  32. […] from Diet,Desserts,Dogs (Toronto, Canada) made this stunningly beautiful Roasted Garlic and Pumpkin Seed Pesto. Although Ricki called it a “pesto,” it can also be used on its own as a spread for crackers or […]

  33. lk Says:

    Congrats on ur “E” award! I luv your pesto – Such a unique & superb combo! Simply awesome!

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