Dairy-free Arugula Lemon Pesto
With the spicy kick of arugula and fresh garlic, the citrusy perfume of lemon zest, toasted pine nuts, and sumptuous extra virgin olive oil, this pesto is explosively delicious. When paired with sweet and earthy beet chips, it becomes something truly special.
I thought it might be nice to share a recipe you could serve at a celebration (perhaps during holiday season) that will not only dazzle the eyes and taste buds but also pump up the nutrient density at the hors d’oeuvre table. Plus, it’s always nice to know you have something delicious and compliant to eat at festive gatherings.
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Finding Thyroid-healthy Ways to Celebrate the Holidays
Though I’d happily eat this pesto any day of the year when served with beet chips the colors scream Christmas. In addition to replacing old holiday favorites, I love trying new festive recipes, like this one. The red and green flavor extravaganza of this pesto pairing is part of my growing stack of new holiday-worthy recipes that support (rather than undermine) our health. I find myself looking forward to making them now at holiday time, which has happily dulled the pangs of longing for some traditional family recipes that simply don’t work for me anymore.
What to Serve With This Pesto
While my highly recommended vehicle for this pesto is beet chips, I encourage you to take liberties with your format. This pesto would be just as happy atop a plate of spiralized beet…boodles(?), or zucchini zoodles for that matter. You could drizzle it over simple roasted beets topped with diced avocado (another surprisingly good combination). Or you could go full-deconstructionist and morph the ingredients into a rustic, hearty, and colorful beet and arugula salad. Alternately, use this pesto as a topping for roast chicken or broiled fish. Chef’s choice!
My Favorite Beet Chips
While I have tried several methods of homemade beet chips, from oven-baked to deep-fried, I've found that the time and effort required are usually more than I want to take on. The quickest, easiest, and perhaps most cost-effective option is to buy a bag of beet chips.
To avoid unhealthy refined frying oils, choose dehydrated or freeze-dried beet chips. They have an extra-crispy crunch, a sturdy heft, and are typically made with just one or two ingredients.
Rhythm makes a "Naked Beet Chip," which is my personal favorite. They contain only one ingredient: dehydrated beets. Rhythm Brand foods are available at many health food stores, but if your shopping options are limited, you can always order online.
Thyroid-healthy Recipe Highlights:
- Garlic (especially raw garlic) has many powerful healing properties and can aid or alleviate some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism such as inflammation, cardiovascular issues, decreased immunity, and increased infection. It can also support the liver in its detoxification efforts.
- Extra virgin olive oil boasts myriad health benefits including heart and skin health, diabetes and cancer prevention, as well as hormonal balance. It may also relieve inflammation, brain fog, depression, and weight gain associated with hypothyroidism.
- Arugula or rocket is in the Cruciferae family and is therefore goitrogenic, meaning it may inhibit the absorption of iodine, which fuels the thyroid. Most current recommendations for hypothyroid patients are to consume goitrogenic foods in moderation, and cooked when possible. Arugula is also a highly nutritious, low-calorie, high-fiber food which contains key thyroid supporting nutrients like Zinc and vitamin A. If you are avoiding all goitrogenic foods, you could substitute fresh basil.
- Beets are a good source of dietary fiber, which can help relieve constipation associated with hypothyroidism. They also support your body's detox pathways by stimulating the production of bile and liver enzymes.