My Fettuccini with Collard Greens Pesto and Grilled Shrimp is quick, colorful, nutritious, and delicious- it's the perfect summer dish!
Now that we’re in the middle of summer, one of my favorite things to do is spend time with my family, kick back, and relax outdoors, preferably with a cold beverage in hand. When it comes to meals, I usually stick to grilling and recipes that are quick and easy. I mean, who wants to spend all day in a hot kitchen?
Pesto- a classic summer dish
One of my favorite things to make in the summertime is pesto. Pesto (pesto alla Genovese) is a classic Italian sauce made by pureeing fresh basil with garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and olive oil.
Pesto isn’t usually cooked but rather, it’s just tossed with pasta. I love making a whole batch of pesto when I have fresh herbs and then using it in a variety of dishes like sandwiches, soups, salads and pasta. It also freezes well so you can enjoy it for months.
Another great thing about pesto is that you can make endless variations by mixing up the ingredients. I love pairing classic basil pesto with roasted cauliflower and Marcona almonds. I also love pesto rosso (sun-dried tomato pesto or red pesto). It's especially delicious in pasta dishes like my Red Pesto Pasta with Eggplant.
I make a lot of different types of pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and various nuts and seeds like almonds and pumpkin seeds. So when I picked up a bag of collard greens from the grocery store, I decided I was going to make a new version of pesto!
Collard greens pesto
A serving of collard greens provides an impressive array of nutrients. These include fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and calcium! These wholesome greens are a great way to add a boost of flavor and nutrients to dishes like pastas, smoothies, salads and more.
To make the collard greens pesto, I first blanch the collards quickly in boiling water to soften them. Then I shock them in ice water to lock in their green color. Then I throw them into a food processor with some pecans, garlic, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and olive oil. I add a little water to get it all going and in a few seconds, it's done! Pretty easy, right? Just look at that beautiful color!
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the collard greens pesto came out! When I think of collards, I usually think of traditional dishes that stew them for hours with strong-flavored ingredients like ham. But collards have a mild, savory flavor that work perfectly in this pesto!
Since I use a whole pound of greens, this recipe made a lot of pesto, about 3 ½ cups. But as I mentioned before, pesto freezes really well so I usually freeze the leftovers in an ice cube tray. That way, I can pull out individual portions from the freezer when I need a quick dinner.
This collard greens pesto is delicious tossed with pasta. I can also see myself using it in potato salad, on flatbread, and even as a delicious topping for fish or chicken.
I toss some of the collard greens pesto with hot fettuccini pasta. Then I stir in a little bit of the pasta water to form a nice sauce to coat the strands.
Quick, colorful, easy, and delicious. Plus, it’s good for you too! This dish just screams summer, doesn’t it?
To top my pasta dish, I like to grill some shrimp and beautiful vine-ripened tomatoes. I quickly marinate the shrimp with a few simple ingredients and then toss them on the grill. They cook in a matter of minutes.
More tasty summer dishes
- Greek Zucchini Fritters
- Pesto Rosso
- Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Marcona Almond Pesto
- Beef Kofta Kebabs with Tzatziki Sauce
- Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- Tandoori Chicken Kebabs
Did you try this recipe? If so, please leave a review below. I love hearing from you! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fettuccini with Collard Greens Pesto and Grilled Shrimp
Collard Greens Pesto
- 1 pound collard greens
- ½ cup roughly chopped pecans
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup water
- 1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 bunch tomatoes on the vine
- 8 ounces fettuccini or other long pasta, cooked and drained (reserve some of the pasta water)
- To make the pesto, first bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the collards and cook 3-4 minutes until soft. Drain and immediately immerse in a bowl of ice water. Drain the greens after a few minutes.
- Pulse the pecans and garlic in a food processor until finely ground. Add the drained collards, cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and water and process until smooth. The pesto will be thick.
- Marinate the shrimp in a bowl with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Grill the shrimp 2-3 minutes on each side until opaque. Remove from heat.
- Add the tomatoes to the grill and cook a few minutes, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and softened.
- Toss the cooked fettuccini with about 1 cup of the collard greens pesto. Reserve the remaining pesto for another use. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water until the sauce coats the pasta. Arrange the grilled shrimp and tomatoes on top of the pasta and serve.