Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner: Spinach-Walnut Pesto (Kids Cook Monday)
|October 8, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Dinner, Recipes|
I’ve made this spinach-walnut pesto recipe so many times that I have it memorized. Mixed with pasta, it’s one of those rare meals that all three of my children (and my husband) love. And I love it because it’s easy to make and filled with nutrients. I usually make a batch every couple weeks. I store half in the refrigerator and freeze the rest in a glass storage container.
When I made it the other day, my four-year-old daughter Reese was my helper. I’ll admit to being a little worried that she would reject it after seeing the ingredients. Oh, how I was wrong! Instead, she was eating it by the spoonful right out of the Cuisinart.
This recipe is adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook. The Contessa version calls for basil, walnuts and pine nuts. I substituted some spinach for the basil and replaced the pine nuts with more walnuts. I also scaled back on the garlic just a bit. I keep thinking about experimenting with other greens (like kale or arugula) but have yet to do it. Someday!
The pesto is perfect mixed with whole-grain or quinoa pasta. Mix it with whole-wheat pearl couscous for a tasty side dish. Or, spread a little on a cheese quesadilla or a grilled cheese sandwich. No matter how you serve it, you can’t go wrong.
Yields: 2 cups
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, packed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Place the walnuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds.
- Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed.
- Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.
- Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.