Spinach and Basil Pesto

Spinach on white

Spinach, in combination with basil, makes a less intensely-flavored pesto sauce. Some may enjoy this milder flavor, whether served traditionally on pasta, or as a topping for potatoes or an offbeat dressing for potato salad, on grains, or as a garnish for soup.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (enough for 10 to 12 ounces of pasta)

  • 1/2 to 1 cup firmly packed basil leaves, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more, to taste
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed, optional
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or 1/2 cup walnut halves
    (or omit nuts if you’d like a less caloric pesto)
  • 6 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and drained,
    or regular spinach, stemmed, chopped, and well washed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Spinach pestoCombine all the ingredients except the salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse on and off until the mixture is a coarse, even puree. You may need to add the spinach in batches if your processor has a small or medium-sized container.

Stop the machine and season gently with salt and pepper; taste to see if you’d like to add more lemon juice. Serve at once — stir into hot cooked pasta or use as suggested above in the headnote.

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