Pesto is a great way to add a little flare to seemingly ordinary foods. Traditional pesto is an Italian sauce made from blending basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and pecorino cheese until it is smooth. I consider pesto to be made with a variety of flavorful leaves, nuts or seeds, and hard cheese in combination with the typical olive oil, garlic, and salt. There is a lot of variation that can be created with pesto keeping it exciting and inviting.


Spinach-Basil Pesto Recipe

  • 4 cups of spinach and basil combined
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup nuts or seeds-pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup oil- traditionally extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • ½-3/4 cup hard cheese-parmesan or pecorino is typical (optional)
  • 1/2 -1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Squeeze of 1 lemon (optional, but keeps the green color vibrant)
  1. In a food processor or high powered blender blend half of the greens with nuts, cheese, and garlic, salt, and lemon.
  2. When ingredients are finely chopped add in the rest of your greens, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Blend until you have a paste, continually scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. With the processor running, slowly stream in the oil. Less oil will make more of a paste or spread, more oil will make more of a sauce. You are free to make it however it tickles your fancy.
  4. Taste it and see how you like it. You may wish to add more cheese, nuts, or salt to create a flavor you desire.

Pesto will brown quickly when exposed to air, so use immediately or store in a container eliminating air pockets. Pour a little olive oil over the surface and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for several months.

Pesto is great to use as a spread on sandwiches or wraps, dolloped over sliced tomatoes, mixed into pasta, potatoes, or rice. It is also a great accompaniment to baked or grilled chicken.

What is your favorite pesto?