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)
- In a food processor or high powered blender blend half of the greens with nuts, cheese, and garlic, salt, and lemon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?