Pizza is a favorite food for most of us, but it’s even better when topped with delicious, age-defying toppings. My Kale Cashew Pesto is so full of anti-aging ingredients, I don’t have room to list them all here. (See the full recipe below.) Pesto is a versatile spread that works on pasta, in sandwiches, in soups, and on this delicious Pesto Whole Grain Pizza with Artichokes (recipe below, where it works well in place of tomato sauce.) Artichokes pair nicely with pesto, and they contain lutein, which reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. I used to steam, trim, and de-choke my own artichokes until I met Jane MacDonald at the Natural Foods Expo West. She is the president of Monterey Farms in Salinas, California. She takes fresh artichoke hearts, steams them, tosses them in olive oil, and grills them. Then she vacuum-packs them without adding any preservatives. You can buy her ArtiHearts at Whole Foods or order them by the case online at her website www.MontereyFarmsArtichokes.com
Kale is practically a wonder drug, what with all its antioxidant power from the FoodTrients indoles, carotenoids, choline, quercitin, vitamin C, as well as vitamin A and calcium. It protects against many kinds of cancer, as do olive oil and the sulfur compounds in garlic. Basil contains the FoodTrient lycopene, another cancer-fighter. Cashews contain copper and zinc, which boosts the immune system. They are a sweet nut that helps to balance the bitterness of the kale. I use Tuscan kale, a tenderer, less bitter version of the green. It is also called lacinato kale, black kale, or cavolo nero. Young purple kale works as well.
PESTO WHOLE-GRAIN PIZZA WITH ARTICHOKES
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Rustic Crust Great Grains organic pizza crust
½ cup Kale Cashew Pesto recipe (follows)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
6 oz. (1 package) Monterey Farms Grilled ArtiHearts
Brush crust with olive oil. Spread pesto evenly over the whole pie. Scatter the shredded cheese evenly across. Arrange the artichoke hearts on top. Bake at 425 degrees for 10–12 minutes, or until the cheese melts and is slightly brown.
Kale Cashew Pesto
1 cup Tuscan kale leaves, stems removed, tightly packed
1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed
½ cup cashews, unsalted
1 tsp. crushed garlic
¼ tsp. sea salt
4 Tbsp. olive oil + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Place all ingredients except the cheese and the final Tbsp. of olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Blend together for 10 seconds, or until the mixture is very granular but not smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the final Tbsp. of oil and the cheese. Blend for another 6–10 seconds, or until you get an emerald-colored paste.