Basil and Spinach Pesto

September 25, 2013

In the spring, I bought a teeny, tiny basil plant and put it on my porch.  That poor plant has been neglected for 95% of the summer.  I’d water it maaaaaybe once a week when I would grab some fresh catnip for my kitties.  Despite the lack of love, my tiny basil plant has exploded into a crazy basil bush.  I can clear all but a few piddly leaves off, and it will be full again three days later.  I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ve been up to my ears in basil and I’ve done nothing at all to deserve it.

Basil and Spinach Pesto

Because basil is such a delicious and precious herb, I try my best to do right by it (other than forgetting to water it!).  What’s the best way to treat such a classy lady?  Pesto.  Pesto.  Pesto.  Before this summer, I hadn’t made pesto since I lived at my parents’ house and everyone complained about pine nuts (circa 2004-2005).  I knew I wanted my pesto to be a little lighter, so there’s not much oil.  I also prefer a creamy pesto, so I threw in some Parmesan.

Basil and Spinach Pesto

I get that there are 8,000 really creative pestos out there and you don’t have time for mine, but this is seriously delicious.  Pesto sauces tend to be pretty heavy, but this one is light and clean tasting.  Regardless, I demand you make a pesto today so that you can enjoy the tasty sandwich I have coming up.  A sandwich I used to make constantly in high school, but with a store bought sauce (seriously, my family had it out for pine nuts!) – sooo much better with garden fresh pesto, but I guess you can buy a jar for Friday if you’re feeling lazy.

Basil and Spinach Pesto
Serves: 4

  • 1 c basil (packed)
  • ½ c spinach (packed)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 0.5 oz Parmesan cheese or 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water

  1. Pack basil, spinach, pine nuts, and cheese or nutritional yeast into a food processor.
  2. Drizzle oil over top and process briefly.
  3. Scrape down sides and add water. Process until desired consistency is met, scraping down sides as necessary.
  4. Can store for up to a week in an airtight container.

For a vegan version, opt for nutritional yeast (or omit entirely).
Makes ~1/2 c.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 75 Fat: 7g Carbohydrates: 1g Protein: 2g


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    […] well and had an all around bad day, so I’m going to get right to the point.  Remember the pesto from Wednesday?  This sandwich is one of the many delicious outcomes of that […]

    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl Sep 26, 2013

    I love pesto recipes, I try to make pesto out of everything! I love how yours turned out! Yummy!

    Reeni Sep 25, 2013

    I never tire of pesto recipes! And I LOVE pine nuts and parmesan in mine too. I could eat this with a spoon!

    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry Sep 25, 2013

    PESTO! I love pesto and how you can swap out the parmesan if need be. My basil plant is dying but maybe I’ll have the same luck as you.

      Kelly Sep 25, 2013

      I seriously abandoned it for well over a week (more like 2) and it was all dry and sad. A little water and *poof*! It was better by the next morning. Crazy resilient!

    marcie@flavorthemoments Sep 25, 2013

    Pesto is one of my all time favorite things, and I love that you added spinach! This would be great with so many things — soups, pastas, pizza, sandwiches. Just delicious, Kelly!

    Em @ Love A Latte Sep 25, 2013

    I love pesto SO MUCH !!! It’s one of my favorite things and oddly I’ve never made my own! I definitely will be soon now though because this receipe looks delicious. Do you every do pizza with pesto spread all over it?! And then I use (vegan) cheese on top…oh gosh I’m getting hungry. Thanks for sharing this!

      Kelly Sep 25, 2013

      I loooove a pizza covered in pesto! With kalamata olives, red onion, tomato, mmmm. Pesto pizzas hold up pretty well to being cheeseless even (especially if you do a combo of pizza sauce AND pesto)… now I’m hungry too!

    Julia Sep 25, 2013

    I Loooooveeee peeeestooooo! Pesto’s one of those things I think we should try a new recipe every time we make it! Out of the 8,000 recipes, yours is definitely making my mouth water! It looks perfect for spreading on sandwiches, which is my favorite way of eating pesto! I’ve never tried putting nutritional yeast in pesto and I love this idea!!!

      Kelly Sep 25, 2013

      I totally agree! There’s so many great recipes floating around and it’s so easily customizable that there’s no reason not to try something new every time.

    Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen Sep 25, 2013

    Oh, how I love pesto and this looks so good! I have nutritional yeast and want to try more recipes with it. I love that this has spinach in it and that you used less oil. I think I see a pesto pizza in my future!