We love to cook up some pasta and pair it with a simple garlic sauce or pesto for a quick and easy dinner.
We braved the world and went out to the grocery store the other day. We went to Central Market and while there we saw the most beautiful bunch of basil on the planet. Of course, we just HAD to buy it.
It was calling our name. So we brought it home.
Now we have all kinds of options for what to do with this basil and of course pesto comes to mind.
So what is pesto?
The word pesto means to crush. In today’s world though we all know pesto as a sauce that is generally made with fresh basil, olive oil, nuts, and other ingredients.
It is served hot and cold depending on the use at the time. It is mixed into pasta, served atop fish or chicken. It is fantastic spread on toasted bread and even as a sauce for pizza. People also love to make all different kinds and mix and match ingredients.
If you are looking for a way to work spinach into your diet or your child’s diet this spinach basil pesto is the perfect way to do it. You get the rich flavor and health benefits of having spinach with this recipe but the flavor is hidden.
It is important to note that when you first create this pesto recipe the initial aroma and flavor of the spinach will be strong. However, if you left it rest in the fridge for a few hours that will mellow out and the basil will take over.
What kind of nuts do you put in pesto?
The traditional version of pesto is made with pine nuts. However, you can experiment with all types of nuts as a foundation. For example, some people make pesto with almonds or walnuts.
What ingredients are in pesto?
Pesto traditionally includes a few core ingredients. It has basil, olive oil, salt, nuts, cheese, and garlic. From there you can start to add ingredients such as spinach and peppers to create a unique version of this Italian dish.
Do you have to heat up pesto?
No, you don’t have to heat up the pesto. You can use pesto cold right out of the fridge or you can heat it up. The choice is yours. It really depends on how you intend to use it.
How long does pesto last?
Fresh pesto can last anywhere from one to two weeks in the fridge. Keep it stored in the back of the fridge where it is coldest. A tip for extending the life of the pesto is to only remove exactly the amount that you need from the container and then return it to the fridge. Don’t let the entire container sit out at room temperature any longer than you need it to.
Can you freeze pesto?
Yes, you can freeze pesto. Pesto is actually a terrific food to freeze. Consider freezing small portions of pesto by putting it in an ice tray, covering it with plastic wrap, and then you can pop out small amounts of it at a time.
- 1 ½ c baby spinach leaves
- ¾ c fresh basil leaves
- ½ c almonds
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cloves garlic
- ¼ t salt
- ½ t pepper
- 1 T lemon juice
- ½ t lemon jest
- ½ c extra-virgin olive oil (divided, used twice)
- Wash and dry the lemon. Zest the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and juice it.
- Add all ingredients except only 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a food processor.
- Mix until smooth. Stop to scrape the sides as needed.
- Once it is fully mixed slowly add in the remaining olive oil and process until fully mixed and smooth.
- Place in a container with a lid and refrigerate for 3 hours.
- Remove from the fridge, stir and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 101mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g