Everyone's enjoyed a pesto made with basil, but there's no reason to limit your knowledge of the condiment: you actually can make it with a variety of greens like spinach, arugula, and mint or other herbs such as cilantro or parsley. One of my favorites is spinach pesto; it works great on pasta, pizza, and as a spread for sandwiches.
The ingredients are simple: spinach, roasted pine nuts (although other nuts will work), and a little bit of grated Parmesan. The key here, though, is a really great olive oil; I use Sciabica's Mission Spring Harvest for its light, slightly buttery flavor. First, add all of the solid ingredients to a food processor on low, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil.
Keep your pesto in the fridge and use it over the next couple weeks in a wide range of delicious pesto recipes (if you won't be using all of the pesto, just place it in a jar and cover the top in olive oil to avoid oxidation). Still worried you won't use it all? Freeze it in an ice-cube tray for even smaller easy-to-use servings. Don't just limit your pesto to basil and keep reading for this incredibly easy recipe.
2 1/2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Experiment with different varieties of nuts like walnut, pistachio, etc and even seeds like sunflower seeds are a great substitute.
- In a food processor, combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Lightly pulse until well mixed.
- With the machine running on low, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is creamy.
- Gently stir the Parmesan into the mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Makes about 2 cups.
- Other, Condiments/Sauces