Prior to this experiment, I’d never made spinach pesto. I’d seen plenty of recipes that went on and on about how easy it was, but I opted not to make my own version because I was convinced that the one I frequently purchased from Trader Joe’s was good enough. Well, one day that changed. I don’t know what came over me, but I decided to give it a try. After all, it looked pretty easy, I was hungry, in the mood for pasta, and I hadn’t purchased any pesto from Trader Joe’s.
I glanced into my refrigerator and pulled out some ingredients that I thought would be fitting for a good spinach pesto. In my research I learned quite a bit! I often think of basil as being the most dominant green in the mix, but I learned that there are a variety of other options that would serve well in addition to the basil. For my pesto’s base, I decided to go with spinach. It’s packed with nutrients and I happened to have a ton of it on-hand.
Most traditional pesto sauces use Parmesan cheese, but as a substitute I decided to go with good ol’ nutritional yeast. To be honest, I’ve never been too crazy about nutritional yeast. I don’t think it tastes all that “cheesy” but I use it in recipes anyway to be on the safe side (I’m pretty sure it’s in the vegan handbook somewhere). In addition, most recipes typically use pine nuts but I didn’t have any on hand. To my surprise, the combination of roasted pecans and cashews worked out really well. Until this, I didn’t realize how easy it was to roast nuts. For whatever reason I thought it was some big deal, but it wasn’t. Probably the easiest thing I’ve done in a while. Measure out the pecans and cashews, place them on a tray and let them cook for 5 minutes. Easy peasy!
Folks, it just doesn’t get much easier than this. In fact, I’m not even sure if this spinach pesto really counts as cooking! After all of the ingredients are combined, be sure to add generous amounts of the sauce to your pasta, or else it’ll taste bland. Trust me, it makes all the difference! My next venture with this will be experimenting with it as a pasta salad. You know, like a cold version with some veggies mixed in. This spinach pesto is delicious spread over bread too!
Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below! I know you’ll love it!
- 1/3 cup roasted pecans and cashews (350F for 5 min, then set aside to cool)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 oz fresh basil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- cooked pasta of choice
- Add all pesto ingredients to a food processor and blend until all ingredients are well combined
- Stir into cooked pasta until well coated and enjoy!