Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Pesto with Cranberries

For my love of pesto, as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®, I made Holiday Pesto with Cranberries using STAR Usage Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oil. #STAROliveOil #shop

I am a pesto lover - and it's a serious deal. I love creating new pestos to pair with specific meats or dishes. The ingredient combinations are seriously endless and it's fun to challenge myself for the "perfect" flavor. But how about pairing a pesto with the holidays? I'm talking about popular flavors of the season {cranberries, freshly cracked nuts, oranges and mint} put into a pesto. That's exactly what I was thinking when making this Holiday Pesto with Cranberries. Being beyond excited, I headed to Walmart to pick up the ingredients which included a special bottle of olive oil!

There is no beating around the bush - you need good olive oil to make a good pesto. Having recently heard about STAR Oils new Usage Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oils, I knew I had to check them out. The three varieties of olive oil are specifically made to be used with Vegetables, Poultry/Fish or Beef/Lamb - Arbequina, Hojiblanca and Picual respectively. Each oil is made from different olives to naturally enhance the flavors of specific meals. Just as I pair wine with food, I can pair Extra Virgin Olive Oil with recipes. I'm seriously loving this. So I grabbed a bottle Arbequina which is perfect for my pestos!

I gathered up all the ingredients and got to work.

I will admit, after I finished making this pesto I was a little hesitant to try it. I know that sounds silly considering I created it - but that's so me. {true story} So, I let it sit in the fridge for an hour to let the flavors meld and then got brave. Oh Em Gee, it's amazing. I would almost say it's sweet & spicy but will instead say it's one of the most delicious kicks-in-the-mouths I have ever created. I could also taste the difference in the new olive oil and the new added smoothness to this pesto - there is no going back, I am a Arbequina Fan for life. So happy to have both STAR Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil and this Holiday Pesto with Cranberries in my life now!

Holiday Pesto with Cranberries
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup packed assorted greens {I used Marketside: Herb Mix Salad}
5 mint leaves
½ orange, peeled
3 tablespoons shelled nuts {I used a mix of pecan, walnut, almond & hazelnut}
⅔ cup Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Vegetables
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.
2. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 1 hr. Flavors will enhance over time.

For a chance to win a set of the 3 Usage Pairing Extra Virgin Olive Oils make sure to check out STAR Fine Foods Facebook page! You can also find STAR Fine Foods on Twitter & Pinterest.


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