“Pesto”, or “pesto alla genovese” is a sauce originating in Genoa, Italy. Traditionally made of crushed garlic, pine nuts, coarse salt, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese and Pecorino (cheese made from sheep’s milk), blended in olive oil. It got its name from the verb “pestâ“, meaning to pound or crush, referencing to the original method of preparation – using a mortar and pestle.
What do you mean by “pesto both worlds”, you might ask? We are heading into the fall season now, and unfortunately, herbs are no longer in season. Pine nuts, as delicious as they may be, can be found at $19/lb – makes this tasty sauce an unaffordable one. So here’s a recipe so that you can have your pesto, and keep your wallet happy too.
Spinach Walnut Pesto
Makes 1 cup (4 Servings).
Preparation Time: 5 minutes.
- 2 Handfuls raw baby spinach leaves (2 cups)
Given it is Autumn and beautiful orange carrots are filling up the shelves at the grocers, leafy carrot tops also do a great job as a substitute for the greens.
- 1 Handful walnuts (approximately 1/4 cup)
If you’re going with carrot tops instead of spinach, also try almonds for a bit of variation. Personally, I go with whichever I’ve got in the house or what I find on sale!
- 2 Cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
For a dairy-free or vegan version, opt out on the parmesan and double up on the nuts.
- 1 Tbsp olive-oil
- Juice of half a lemon (1 Tbsp) *optional for an extra bit of tanginess
- A pinch of sea salt and black pepper cloves to season
- Peel the garlic and pound in a mortar and pestle.
- Add greens, in batches according to the size of your mortar, and continue to pound until paste-like texture.
- Add in nuts (lightly toasted if you like) to the mixture and pound again.
- Stir in parmesan, drizzle olive oil, and squeeze juice of half a lemon. Mix the paste lightly until combined.
- Pound in black pepper cloves and salt to taste.
Serve fresh on pizza, in pasta, as spread on bread or freeze for use later. Stores in fridge up to 1 week if well sealed.
Per (1/4 cup) Serving
Calories: 120 kcal
Fat: 12 g
Carbohydrates: 2.7 g
Fiber: 0.8 g
(Net Carbohydrate: 1.9 g)
Protein: 3 g
A source of