I am reposting this penne with pesto recipe because it’s summer and this is one of those dishes best made with fresh out-of-the-garden ingredients! Of course, you can use farmer’s market or store-bought ingredients and it will be just as delicious.

The last couple of weeks we’ve been eating chard like crazy. It’s so gorgeous in our garden that it just calls to me!  One of our favorites in this household is pesto. Chard basil pesto is incredibly easy to make – it’s a great use of the abundance of leaves you may have in your garden and with this recipe, meal prep is minimal and comes together really quickly. To top this off, chard is a superfood and the entire plant is edible. Just 100 grams will give you more than 300 percent of your daily dose of vitamin K and more than 20 percent of your daily dose of Vitamin C and Vitamin A.

Here’ are a couple of ideas for chard that you might enjoy ~


Serves 3 – 4

Cook (1) lb penne pasta according to directions. Once pasta is done, while still hot, toss with 1-1/2 1/2 cups rainbow chard basil pesto (recipe below) and 2-3 cups fresh organic baby spinach (or chiffonade of fresh chard). The heat from the pasta will wilt the spinach slightly. Garnish with thinly sliced red or orange bell peppers, toasted walnuts (or toasted pine nuts) and cracked black pepper. Serve warm or cold along with with lemon wedges.

Note:  We used 1-1/2 cups pesto for each pound of penne.  Use more or less depending on your taste.  Make up to (1) day ahead of serving, but hold off on adding toasted walnuts until serving.  (We found this pasta dish was even better the next day!)


Makes approximately 2 cups

Vegetarian / Gluten Free / Freezer Friendly

  • 2 C fresh organic basil leaves
  • 3 good sized bunches organic chard, stems removed.  This probably equals 12 to 16 large leaves
  • 1/2 C organic Italian parsley
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic – approx 2 T
  • 1/3 C fresh lemon juice
  • 2 T lemon zest
  • 3/4 C extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 C toasted walnuts
  • 3/4 C fresh grated pecorino
  • 1/2 tsp each Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Put basil, chard, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and zest in blender.  Stream olive oil in while blender is running – stopping periodically to get all leaves down into liquids. Once blended, add walnuts, pecorino, salt and pepper. Blend until all ingredients are incorporated.  If pesto is too thick, you need to add more olive oil a tablespoon at a time to reach desire consistency. You should end up with a very green, silky consistency.  Please Note: Toasted pine nuts or almonds can be used in place of walnuts.  OR no nuts at all!  For a vegan version, omit the cheese.

Pesto can be kept in the refrigerator for 6 – 7 days or frozen for up to six months