Emergency Dinner Guests? Pesto Vinaigrette!

Not too long ago, I blogged about the five things I always have in my fridge, freezer and pantry to ensure that I can put together a delicious meal anytime. I didn’t put pesto on that list, but I probably should have. I made a big batch of pesto last summer and froze it in ice cube trays. All throughout the winter I have been making use of that pesto whenever I need to make a quick dinner with a big flavor boost. It’s come in handy for pasta sauces, pizza, soups and risotto.

Now I’ve found another great use for pesto: the pesto vinaigrette.

Last night I unexpectedly had three guests for dinner. As it was the end of the week, I didn’t have a lot of groceries left, but fortunately I had sausage in the freezer and salad greens in the fridge (both on my “five things” list). I pan-fried and sliced the sausage, and tossed it with the greens and the pesto vinaigrette to make a hearty salad that was a big hit. For vegetables, I only had odds and ends: a couple of potatoes, a leek or two, an onion, a few carrots. I chopped them into large pieces, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted them together at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or so. The roasted vegetables were also delicious drizzled with the pesto vinaigrette. I imagine it would also be tasty as a sauce for grilled chicken or a dressing for sliced tomatoes.

I do like to plan out my menus, but when I have unexpected guests drop in, it really stretches my creativity and leads me to discover new combinations I might not otherwise have tried.

Pesto Vinaigrette

Yields: 8 servings
Time to make: 5 minutes with prepared pesto

Whisk together:

  • 4 tbsp. prepared pesto (any flavor)
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Adapted from a recipe in Sara Foster’s Casual Cooking.

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