I am a big pesto lover. I’ve been trying to make it all summer, but I’ve been having really bad luck with basil. First, I bought a basil plant, but I noticed that it had bugs in it so I had to get rid of it. Then, I kept buying packages of cut basil, but they kept expiring before I could use them. I just bought another (hopefully bug-free) basil plant, so we will see how that goes.
But in the meantime, I had a beautiful bag of vibrant, baby spinach leaves delivered to my apartment. Spinach pesto it was. The spinach pesto has a milder and slightly sweeter flavor than basil pesto does, and I love it.
To make pesto, drop 2 garlic cloves into a running food processor so they get finely chopped. The garlic really packs a spicy punch that makes pesto so delicious.
Then, add 2 cups of baby spinach leaves (or basil leaves if you want to make a traditional pesto) and 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts to the food processor. I used Spanish pine nuts to avoid getting pine mouth again.
Run the food processor until the spinach and pine nuts are finely chopped. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then, turn the food processor back on and slowly drizzle in olive oil until the pesto takes on a pestoy consistency. About 1/4 cup of olive oil should be enough, but you can adjust the amount to suit your preferences.
Put your spinach pesto into another bowl and mix in 1/4 of grated parmesan cheese. One of the benefits of spinach pesto is that it will not turn brown when it is exposed to air like basil pesto does, so there is no need to cover it with a layer of olive oil before storing it in the refrigerator. Enjoy your pesto in pasta, on sandwiches, on pizza, on chicken, alone, or any other ways you can imagine!
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I do this all the time! Add a teaspoon (or a little more) of dried basil, and it tastes almost the same as fresh basil pesto! So, yum, and it’s a great way to sneak spinach into the hubs and kiddies!
Oh, right! And, you can do this with frozen spinach too! Just use a clean kitchen towel or sturdy stack of paper towels, dump the thawed block into the center, and squeeze out the water, then pop it in the food processor like you would the fresh! I found this to be a life saver, as I can never use up fresh stuff in my fridge fast enough. Having a box of frozen spinach in the fridge, was always a few minutes from a pesto hankering!