Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Spinach And Walnut Pesto For Dinner And Lunch

When not in season, fresh basil is pricey so spinach is a really good and nutritious alternative to use when making pesto. We had a lot of leftover spinach from a large container we had bought and I thought making spinach pesto would be a great fresh way to use it up. Walnuts are also a nice alternative to pricey pine nuts usually used in making pesto.

I often make batches of pesto from my garden basil at the end of summer and freeze it for winter. This past summer, a pest ate all the basil and I couldn't control it. So, unfortunately, there was no basil to harvest.

Since I've been making pesto for years, I don't need to pre-measure the ingredients. My spinach pesto recipe is much like the recipes that can be found on the internet or in cookbooks. So if this post inspires you to make some nutritious spinach pesto for your family one night, great! You can either work from my general instructions or try another recipe that sounds good to you.

For this pesto, all I did was stuff a bunch of washed baby spinach into my small 2-cup food processor, plopped in two peeled garlic cloves, a handful of walnuts, juice from half a lemon, a little sea salt, and some freshly ground pepper. When it was time to blend the ingredients, I poured in some extra virgin olive oil (somewhere around 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup), enough to make the mixture move around and blend and until it looked like the right texture. When it was almost done, I added another bunch of spinach and finished blending. For a larger food processor, all the spinach (a total of about 3-4 cups or whatever you want, just adjust the other ingredients to taste), should fit in one batch.

When the spaghetti was done cooking, I scooped out some of the pasta water before draining to use for extra moisture in the finished dish as needed. I probably used 1/2 cup of pasta water to 1 pound of pasta.

Pesto usually has some parmesan cheese. I left it out so I could avoid lactose on my portion (the combination of gluten and lactose can be too much for me). Then, whoever wanted cheese could add it to their dish at the dinner table. The pasta is organic but not gluten-free and not whole wheat. I haven't found a gluten-free spaghetti I like yet. And my family doesn't like whole wheat pasta, although, I think it would have tasted fine with this pesto.

~ * ~

Spinach And Walnut Pesto With Goat Cheese ~ Lunch or Appetizer
The rest of the pesto that didn't get used for dinner was saved for lunch another day.

I spread the spinach pesto on top of two toasted multi-grain gluten-free bread slices and cut them into four bite-sized pieces. In a separate dish, I poured some local honey and leftover crumbled walnuts over goat cheese. For an appetizer, I'd just trim off the crust for a nicer presentation.

Then I put it all together for a nice lunch during a sewing project. Oh, look! I couldn't wait to eat some before taking a photo: 

And while enjoying lunch, I heard the loud cawing of crows outside . . .

Crow and branch silhouettes on a gray winter's day

~ * ~

The delicious bread I used for the snack is a gluten, dairy, and nut free multi-grain bread is from a local bakery, A&J Bakery, in Rhode Island. We don't have allergies, but I like to buy gluten-free bread sometimes just to take a break from eating gluten and this bread just happens to also be dairy and nut free.

No compensation was received. This is just a product I love and want to share.