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Basil and spinach pesto

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SKILL LEVEL :
Easy and quick

Magnificent spinach and basil pesto recipe

There is not much in this world that is better than pesto. With its densely concentrated flavor, pesto perks up the simplest foods, from pasta to potatoes, to bread, to soup, to eggs, to chicken or fish. You can't go wrong by adding a dollop of pesto. Pesto is a great way to boost the nutrition of a meal, by adding concentrated greens, raw garlic and olive oil. There's is hardly a tastier way to be healthy.

Pesto variations

Once you have made a basic pesto, you can have fun with variations. In place of basil, try combinations of:

  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Mint
  • Sorrel
  • Arugula
  • Parsley
  • Roast peppers

 

In place of pine nuts try:

  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pepitos

 

Instead of parmesan cheese, experiment with:

  • Pecorino romano
  • Feta

 

A word about measurements

Don't sweat the measurements. It is ridiculous to try and measure out herbs in any meaningful way. Grab a big handful of basil and a big handful of spinach and toss them in your food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients. If the pesto is too thick add a little more olive oil. Taste it. Not quite right? Adjust the seasoning. Pesto is art, not science.

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Make a big batch of pesto and freeze

In the summer when basil is fragrant and plentiful I like to make a big batch of pesto and freeze individual portions. My mom used to bring me enormous basil trees from her garden and I would make boat loads of pesto. My kids would come home, pull a little bag of pesto from the freezer and toss it with pasta for a quick after school snack. Pesto is a good thing. You just can't have too much pesto.

 

Basil and spinach pesto

Prep

Total

Yield 1 .5 cups

There is not much in this world that is better than pesto. With its densely concentrated flavor, pesto perks up the simplest foods, from pasta to potatoes, to bread, to soup, to eggs, to chicken or fish. You can't go wrong by adding a dollop of pesto.

Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 big handful of stemmed basil leaves, about 2 ounces
  • 1 big handful of stemmed spinach leaves, about 2 ounces
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 5 T olive oil
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 t salt
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Whirl the garlic in a food processor until finely minced. Add the remaining ingredients and whirl until well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings. That's all. Just one step!
THIS SERVES WELL WITH

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4 COMMENTS

Comments

  1. Muffer says:

    Kim I’m going to try this tonight. Thanks for the Monday morning inspiration!

    1. Kim says:

      Make the soup too and you will be one happy camper! Or just smear the pesto on some toast with a bit of mozzarella and a tomato. Or better yet, a roasted tomato. : )

  2. Lauren Pawell says:

    I normally make my pesto with basil only but I loved this spinach variation. Next, I’m going to experiment with some of your other suggestions like mint & arugula. Thanks for the twist on a basic!

    1. Kim says:

      What I really like about spinach pesto is how it retains its bright green color, even days later, even after its been in the freezer!

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