Food Guyd: Presto Pesto!

Authored by

January 27, 2012
10:38 a.m.

If winter weather gets you down, start on my second New Year’s recipe. Not only is it good for you, it’ll drizzle in your mouth like a tropical taste bud storm. As always, I’m here to answer any questions you might have, on this recipe or others.

Remember, save a Bear: Eat my food instead! –Rich yes


Grilled Avocado & Tomato Salad with Arugula Pesto 

Time for a kind-of cheat recipe: This one has a zesty arugula pesto that has Parmesan cheese in it—but a little goes a long way, so don’t feel too guilty. Like the gazpacho from last week, it uses the good fats in the olive oil, plus the avocado. Can’t find heirloom tomatoes? Use your favorite from the local grocer or farmers market, or change it up with a savory-sweet combination by using red d’Anjou pears instead. 

Grilled Avocado & Tomato Salad with Arugula Pesto 

2 Lemons

2 Avocados, (choose firm ones)

½ Medium Red Onion, sliced thin

1 pound Heirloom Tomatoes

Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Arugula Pesto (preferably home-made, without Pine Nuts)

Toasted Pine Nuts (optional garnish) 

  1. Preheat Grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Using a zester or microplane, remove the zest from one of the lemons and reserve.  Juice both lemons into a mixing bowl large enough to hold the avocados.   Halve the avocados and remove the pit. Use a large spoon to remove the flesh and immediately toss in the lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
  3. Slice tomatoes into long thin wedges.  Season with salt & pepper and reserve.
  4. In another bowl, combine the sliced onion with about 1 Tbsp of the lemon juice from the avocados.  Season with salt & pepper and toss well to coat.  Reserve.
  5. Remove the avocados from the lemon juice and season with salt, pepper, and a thin coating of olive oil (to prevent sticking—too much will flare-up on the grill).
  6. Place the avocados cut side down on the grill and cook about 2 minutes (until edges begin to brown), then turn over and cook 2 minutes more. This is to soften and flavor the avocados, not cook them—so be careful about over-manipulating them or they will break down. Return grilled avocados to the lemon juice bowl and spoon juice over them to coat.
  7. Once cool enough to handle, slice avocado into thin wedges.
  8. To serve, place avocado and tomatoes on alternating sides of the plate, and top with some of the onions. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and top with 1 Tsp. of the Arugula Pesto. (You may want to taste each component before serving, and adjust seasonings.)  Add toasted pine nuts, if desired.



Arugula Pesto

6 oz. Arugula (about 4 cups)

¼ cup Olive Oil

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated

Kosher Salt & Black Pepper 

  1. Combine Arugula and cheese with a little salt & pepper in a food processor, and pulse until almost smooth.
  2. With machine running, steam in the olive oil and season to taste with salt & pepper. or





Anonymous User
Gayfoodie (Guest)
4 years, 11 months ago

oooooh I must try this pesto. I’ve been searching far and wide for the best pesto. Hopefully this is it!