Hatch Green Chile Pesto plus a Few Other Recipes

This is one of my favorite times of the year:  Hatch Green Chile season!  I was born and raised in New Mexico, so this stuff is part of my DNA. Growing up, it seemed every corner had someone roasting and selling green chiles.  The smell was so good.  That smell also meant it was back-to school time and fall is just around the corner.  Now that I live in Texas, it's a treat to go by Market Street and smell that chile roasting.  And, of course, I have to buy some - both to eat now and to freeze later.  The green chile is delicious to eat it on so many things - eggs, sandwiches, salads, pizza, chicken, soups, popcorn, and I've even had it in some desserts. Not only does the green chile taste good, it's also a good source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and capsaicin.  Capsaicin is what gives peppers their spicy flavor and it can help reduce inflammation in the body.   In sharing some ideas with you today, I wanted to use that chile in ways you may not have tried yet.  Let's start with a great recipe: Green Chile Pesto.

Here are the ingredients you need to gather: olive oil, lime juice, spinach, parsley, garlic, green chiles, and pine nuts.
 Place the spinach and parsley in a food processor and pulse to finely chop; add the chiles, garlic, pine nuts and lime juice.  Continue to pulse until well blended. 
 Slowly drizzle in olive oil to make a smooth sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add to cooked, hot pasta and toss to coat. 
 Stir in some chopped or shredded chicken. 
 Serve with veggies and fruit to round out a great meal! 

Green Chile Pesto:
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
6 green New Mexico Hatch chiles, roasted and peeled, with stems and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound rigatoni, cooked
3 grilled chicken breasts, chopped
Place spinach and parsley or cilantro in a food processor or blender and pulse to finely chop. Add chiles, garlic, pine nuts and lime juice and continue to pulse. With the machine running, slowly add just enough extra-virgin olive oil to make a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water and add it to the pesto to thin the sauce and make it creamy and silky.
Put the pasta in a large serving bowl. Add the pesto and chicken, toss to coat and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings. (adapted from azcentral.com)

Here's a few more easy ways to add some green chile to your meals:

  •  Stir into chicken salad: grab some of our light chicken salad, stir in some chopped green chilies and you have a delicious Southwest Chicken Salad. 
  •  In a blender or food processor,  blend on bottle of Ranch dressing (*perhaps use a Bolthouse Ranch) and 2-3 tablespoons chopped green chile.  This tastes great when drizzled over salad greens with grilled chicken or shrimp. 

  • Mix together equal parts Classic Wholly Guacamole and plain Greek yogurt; stir in some chopped green chilies.  Enjoy as a dip or instead of mayo on your favorite sandwich.

  • In a medium skillet, heat  2 teaspoons olive oil; saute diced squash, onion and garlic.  Add a few tablespoons chopped green chile and stir together; season with salt and pepper to taste.  

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