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Spinach Pesto With Almonds Recipe Is The Best!

Updated on December 28, 2010

My Son Hates Basil, But I Love Pesto!

Spinach pesto is not as common as a pesto made with basil, but this last experiment has proven that spinach pesto can be a wonderful thing! My best friend was my guinea pig for this spinach pesto recipe and it was more of a hit than I had hoped! Probably the best spinach pesto in the world!

My son will even like it and he won't be told that there is a tiny bit of basil in it. Real chefs never lie about ingredients, but mom chefs are allowed. It is in the rules!

Spinach Pesto with Almonds

Before I give you this spinach pesto recipe, I have to admit that I have always believed that pine nuts are an integral ingredient of any good pesto. But when I was looking for my ingredients, I was about to get a cup of pine nuts when I noticed the price: $30.00 per pound. What is this obvious anti-Italian sentiment? The price of pine nuts needs to be investigated, I am quite sure!

1 pound (usually one bunch) of spinach leaves, washed and dried in a salad spinner

1 cup of almonds, unsalted

2 ounce package of pine nuts (in the baking aisle and about $3.50)

6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

zest of one lemon

juice from 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese

1 - 2 cups of salted pasta water

Put the pine nuts and almonds into a dry skillet and heat on medium, just until the pine nuts begin to turn a light brown. This is the easiet method of roasting that I have found and only takes a few minutes. As the nuts are cooling, rough chop the spinach. Add all of the ingredients to your food processor, reserving some of the olive oil. If your food processor is not big enough, just add enough of the ingredients, give it a few pulses and you should be able to add the remainder. Blend all of the ingredients and stream the remaining olive oil through the top of your processor.

Most pesto sauces need more moisture, but I am not a big fan of too much olive oil. Even though it is a good fat, it is still a fat and has alot of calories. When cooking my pasta, I scoop out 2 cups of the salted pasta water right before I drain it. Then after I put the drained pasta back into the pot, I add some of the pesto and some of the pasta water. You don't need to use the full 2 cups of water. You will know the consistency that you are looking for. The water will help to thin the pesto enough so that it becomes a real sauce.

This pesto recipe will make enough for 2-3 main dishes. Probably closer to three. The remaining can be frozen and used for future meals. I made it one day early and put it into a storage container. I put a thin layer of olive oil across the top, covered it with plastic wrap touching the pesto and then covered it with the fitted lid. I refrigerated it until I was ready to add it to the pasta.

Because I was unsure as to how this pesto would turn out, I used it as a side dish with steak and a salad. I used spinach fettucine, but you can use any pasta you choose. Make sure to use it as a main dish, because everyone will ignore the rest of the meal and only eat the pasta. My best friend and I ate the pasta and left the steak! Better than any basil pesto I have ever had!


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  • lauramaryscott profile image

    lauramaryscott 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

    Jillian Barclay, thank you for this pesto recipe. I am preparing to go to the supermarket and I have a printout in hand. I must try this. Thanks.