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Woodland Roasted Poblano & Garlic Pesto

Maine Countryside Fusion

Woodland Roasted Poblano & Garlic Pesto

When you think of Maine, the first images that often come to mind are its picturesque landscapes: pristine lakes reflecting the azure sky, dense forests that seem to whisper ancient tales, and quaint villages where time seems to stand still. Yet, Maine’s culinary culture is a vivid tapestry, woven with threads of tradition and innovation, creating dishes that are a testament to its rich history and evolving influences.

Enter the “Woodland Roasted Poblano & Garlic Pesto.” A dish that beautifully melds the essence of Maine’s countryside with a hint of fusion, taking us on an adventurous journey across flavors.

The Poblano pepper might not be native to Maine, but its incorporation into this dish represents the state’s evolving palate. Maine, known for its traditional seafood dishes, hearty stews, and delectable pies, is also a place where culinary boundaries are continually being expanded. The choice of poblano—a mildly spicy pepper known for its deep, smoky flavor—introduces an exciting dimension to the otherwise familiar landscape of pestos.

Roasting these peppers till their skins blister and char embodies the ruggedness of the Maine woodlands. Just as the state’s dense forests have stood the test of time, battling harsh winters and blazing summers, the poblano peppers too, undergo a transformation under intense heat. The result? A pepper enriched with an earthy, smoky flavor, reminiscent of campfires and woodland gatherings.

Garlic, a staple in kitchens worldwide and also prolific in Maine’s countryside gardens, adds depth and pungency to our pesto. The addition of onions gives it a subtle sweetness, a nod to the state’s rich agricultural heritage where onions are cultivated with care and pride.

The inclusion of feta cheese, crumbly and tangy, is another delightful twist. It’s not just an ingredient; it’s a representation of Maine’s thriving dairy farms and the state’s love for cheeses, both homegrown and from around the world. The cilantro, with its fresh and citrusy undertone, adds a layer of zestiness, making each bite even more memorable.

The olive oil, poured with precision, binds these ingredients together, much like the rivers and streams of Maine that connect its various regions. And as with any masterpiece, the seasoning—salt and pepper—serves as the finishing touch, balancing and enhancing the flavors to perfection.

This pesto is more than just a sauce; it’s a culinary journey. It invites us to explore the vast woodlands, meander through the rolling fields, and revel in the state’s diverse culinary influences. It’s an ode to Maine’s ability to preserve its traditions while also embracing the new, creating a harmonious blend that tantalizes the palate and warms the soul.

Woodland Roasted Poblano & Garlic Pesto

Print Recipe


  • 3 ea poblano peppers
  • 6 ea cloves garlic peeled and lightly smashed
  • 1/2 ea onion diced
  • 1/3 C feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/4 C cilantro
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt or adjust to taste
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper or adjust to taste


  • Ignite the grill and expertly char the poblano peppers until their skin blisters, giving them a rich smoky flavor. Once cooled, peel away the charred skin, discard the stem, and remove the seeds.
  • Time to harness the power of the food processor! Add the garlic, onion, feta cheese, fresh cilantro, and the centerpiece: the smoky roasted poblano chiles. Pulse until everything is finely minced and the aroma is irresistible.
  • While the food processor is still running, gracefully pour in the olive oil, allowing the mixture to transform into a smooth, luxurious sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper, adjusting to your preference, and prepare for a woodland-inspired taste journey that’s both hearty and exquisite!

As you spread this pesto on a slice of freshly baked bread or mix it into your favorite pasta, take a moment to savor its complexity. Let its flavors transport you to the heart of Maine, where the past and the present coexist in perfect harmony, where every bite tells a story, and where the spirit of the countryside lingers long after the meal is over.

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