The region of Ikaria, Greece, is a Blue Zone, meaning some of the world’s longest-living people live there. Ikarian Greeks include walnuts in their diet, and it’s no wonder many of them live well past the age of 100! Walnuts are one of the best foods for you because of their many nutritional qualities. In this pesto, the light, fresh flavor of the celery leaves goes well with the rich flavor of the walnuts. Just buy a bunch of celery with plenty of leaves still on the stalks. If you can’t find enough celery leaves, you can use stemmed watercress to make up the difference in the amount needed. This is one of the recipes is from my Anti-Aging Dishes cookbook.
Walnuts are the highest of any nut in omega-3 fatty acids, which help stabilize plaque in the arteries and are beneficial for brain function. They also contain an amino acid called L-arginine, which is good for the vascular system. They are high in antioxidants and are rich in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese. Celery leaves and watercress contain detoxifying chlorophyll.
This pesto is delicious over whole grain pasta or spread on flat bread.
Yields about 2 cups
2 cups lightly packed celery leaves (or watercress)
1 tsp. minced garlic
¼ tsp. sea salt
½ cup walnut halves and pieces
¼ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Place the celery (or watercress) leaves, garlic, salt, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and pulse until roughly combined.
2. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto is smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container, as needed.