Dana Slatkin

Puerto Vallarta Pesto

Mexican salse

Photo credit: theadvocate.com

Cue the drumroll for the winner of the Farmgirl April Cooking Contest!

Let me say first, the competition was stiff. Just try picking a favorite between Breakfast Nachos, Enchilada Pie, Southwestern Corn Pudding, Caramelized Onion Tortilla Pie, Chile-grilled Salmon with Garlicky Lime-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, Chipotle-Chive Potato Salad, Garden Gazpacho, Chipotle Ribs, Huevos Rancheros Pie, and a hundred others. One recipe even came all the way from Gujarat, India (regrettably, it wasn’t Mexican). It was a very close call.

But ultimately, this recipe from Candy Barnhart beat out the others with its originality, zesty flavors, ease of preparation and versatility.

Candy lives near the western slope of Mount Haleakala on the island of Maui. The lush climate is perfect for growing an abundance of produce, which she loves to experiment with. This chunky pesto with a Mexican twist is delicious as a dip for tortilla chips, to enliven a taco or quesadilla, or to mix into brown rice for a Latin take on pilaf.

Cotija cheese is a mild, low-fat cheese named for a town in Michoacán, Mexico. Usually made from cow’s milk, it is crumbly and slightly salty. If you cannot find it, I recommend substituting feta cheese or parmesan. I even added some black beans for extra protein. Serve the dip at room temperature or warm, with your favorite organic corn chips. It will turn dinner into a fiesta!

My family and I thoroughly enjoyed tasting all of your Mexican-inspired recipes last month. Congratulations to Candy. And to all of you…

Enter the Farmgirl’s May Contest and you could be a winner, too!

Try these other delicious recipes for Cinco de Mayo…

Pineapple Mint Agua Fresca

Iceberg Wedge with Black Beans, Roasted Corn, Cotija Cheese and Light Ranch Dressing

Cinnamon-Sugar Plantains

4-Pepper Tortilla Soup with an Array of Toppings

Dulce de Leche Pudding

Mexican Hot Chocolate

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