Monday, February 27, 2012

Spinach-Almond Pesto

I'm always looking for easy, homemade recipes that my family will love. Emphasis on the word "easy". With four boys ages seven and under, a part time job, a house to maintain, PTA responsibilities and church duties, my plate is pretty full. One thing I love to do is make big batches of sauces and freeze them for easy dinner making later. Things like spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, and verde sauce. But one sauce that I love but had never made was pesto. Little did I know how easy it is to make pesto!

Traditionally pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmigiano reggiano. But that doesn't mean you have to make it that way! With this recipe you can for sure substitute the basil for the spinach and the pine nuts for the almonds, but I almost always have almonds in my pantry and they are cheaper than pine nuts. Parmigiano reggiano is a bit pricey (you can find it in the specialty cheese aisle) but you only need a third of a cup, and you can substitute Kraft parmesan if you want. It won't be as amazing, but it will still be really good. Try it both ways, and if you can't tell the difference or don't care about the difference, use the Kraft stuff!

I used pesto as a condiment on open-faced chicken sandwiches. You can also toss it with pasta, use it in place of pizza sauce, dip crusty bread in it, or use it as a spread for paninis. Make a big batch and freeze part of it, and store what you are going to use in a sealed container for the week. It's pretty healthy (you use olive oil and just a little amount of nuts) and super yummy, a nice change up from the usual condiments you might find in your fridge!

Place your spinach, garlic, almonds, and cheese in your food processor. I think it is oh so fun to play with my food processor! Something about watching everything get pureed or whatever. And then slowly adding the olive oil and watching it all come together. Ahhh...the small things in life.
PESTO! It's such a fun color, perfect for St. Patrick's Day coming up!! *HINT HINT* But seriously, my kids thought it was so fun to dip their bread and carrots in this stuff. I just set out a bowl before dinner and they snacked away, which, by the way, is a great way to get your kids to eat veggies. Set out a plate of cut up fruits or veggies before dinner when your kids are starving (well, at least my kids are starving) and watch them gobble up all that healthy stuff.

Spinach-Almond Pesto
by Girls in Aprons

2 cups packed spinach, tough stems removed
2 T slivered almonds
1/2 clove garlic
1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
3-4 T olive oil

In a food processor combine the spinach, almonds, garlic, and cheese. While combining, slowly add your olive oil until it's at your desired consistency.


1 comment:

  1. Yum! I am totally bookmarking this recipe. I love love love my basil pesto, but I haven't branched out much with other kinds. I'm excited to make this one.