When we think of pesto, our mind wanders to the traditional Genovese pesto with pine nuts, basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. One of the reasons why I like pesto is because you don’t have to stick to that script. Pesto, really, just refers to the way it was originally prepared – in a mortar and pestle. I stumbled across this recipe using spinach and almonds and was instantly intrigued. It’s not always easy to produce a large yield of pesto sauce unless it is peak basil season…and have more landscaping area than a balcony can provide. Secondly, I like to save a few bucks, and pine nuts…well…they cost many bucks.
I loved this version.
Keep a jar in your fridge to add to pastas, wraps, pizzas, sandwiches, salad dressings…the list goes on, for a quick way to add flavour to your meals this summer.
Served with pasta and fresh grape tomatoes
1 oz parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese)
1 oz raw almonds (unsalted, unroasted)
2 oz fresh spinach (approximately 2-3 cups loosely packed)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
a pinch chili pepper (or any source of heat you like, we used hot peppers from the garden)
1 small clove of garlic
handful of fresh basil leaves
¼ to 1/3 cup olive oil
- Combine parmesan and almonds in food processor and grind until fine. This will take a few minutes. Compare it to coffee grounds or bread crumbs
- Add spinach, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili peppers and process until spinach is ground as well. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed
- With the processor running, add olive oil until desired consistency is reached. We didn’t use much more than ¼ cup
Adapted slightly from: The Italian Dish