Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Healthier Spinach Basil Pesto

This pesto is made healthier by what it has and does not have.  It does have the herb, basil in this case, the garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil, albeit less than usual, found in most pestos.   PLUS it has the healthy addition of the superfood, spinach.   What it does not have are the nuts. 

I drew inspiration for this approach of skipping nuts from the Skinny Basil Pesto recipe found in the wonderful source of healthy recipes, the Skinny Taste blog.  I trust Gina, the author of the blog, and she stated that her skinny version was actually good and liked by her family without the high calorie nuts or high amount of olive oil.    That is all I wanted to hear.  I have never made pesto before but I have eaten dishes with it in them.  To attempt to make a healthier version is doubly challenging,  so I needed the goddess of healthy recipes, Gina, as a guide.  No regrets.  The resulting adapted version of her recipe is really good.

I decided to incorporate the spinach in place of some of the basil in her recipe.  My husband is not fond of basil plus I feel good adding the superfood, spinach, in the mix.  I used two kinds of basil from my little herb garden that is still thriving at the deck of my house beyond my and especially my husband's expectations.  (This is my first successful attempt in growing herbs.  Several herbs have not survived in the past, thus my husband's skepticism.) 

My thriving herb garden I am so proud of.  From left to right, oregano, mint, spicy global basil, rosemary, basil and lavender.  All still alive!

Spicy global basil

The ever familiar variety of basil.

I added more garlic than what was called for in the original recipe to give the pesto more zing to it.  I love the resulting overall garlicky not so salty but still flavorful taste of this pesto even though the basil was just a whisper.  This is my first attempt in making a pesto and will not be my last.  I envision this to be good on everything.  Pasta, crostini, fish, chicken and even eggs.  A future recipe is coming up using this in a breakfast dish.  Yes breakfast!

Healthier Spinach Basil Pesto

(5 servings)

(Adapted from  Skinny Taste

  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, cleaned
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Place all the ingredients in a mini food processor and pulse till uniformly mixed but not watery.

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