I’ve never been a giant pesto fan. I know…crazy right? Everyone loves pesto. I like it well enough, I’ve just never been that person adding pesto to anything and everything. And I’ve never made it before.
But, then I discovered that you can make pesto with many many things other than basil. Which is great, because I am completely incapable of growing basil. For some reason it will never grow for me, even when I buy the plants that are well started instead of just planting seeds. It still dies. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with it. Isn’t basil supposed to be one of those plants that is easy to grow?
But then, I can’t grow zucchini either, which is just completely baffling to me. It’s only the most prolific plant ever. Not in my garden. In my garden it generally produces one (or three if I’m really lucky!) tiny little zucchini, and then it inexplicably dies. Every. single. year. So irritating.
I’m not giving up hope yet though. I have basil and zucchini seeds started on the windowsill already, and after (several) tries they even started to grow for us. So with any luck at all maybe we’ll get both in the garden this year. Although I’m not really crossing my fingers!
At any rate, I can’t grow basil, so I’m definitely not harvesting boatloads of the stuff to make pesto with. And it generally seems to cost an arm and a leg to buy enough of the fresh stuff to make pesto. So my new favourite thing happened when I discovered that you don’t need basil to make pesto!!
So I made spinach pesto – because I love spinach, I can grow spinach, and spinach is nice and cheap to buy by the truckload. We have lots of spinach pesto in the freezer right now. And I am now that person that wants to put pesto on anything and everything! Plus, it’s so incredibly easy to make, and freezes so well, that I am now very excited to make pesto out of all the green things I can find.
I’ll try not to start throwing tons of pesto recipes at you now that I’ve joined the rest of the world in loving it. It only took me about 10 years (maybe 15?). I like to join trends late. That’s okay, better late than never right?
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, packed
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes until fragrant. Let cool.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the spinach, pecans, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse a few times to combine everything. With the processor running, drizzle in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil until the pesto is well combined.
- Use immediately or portion it into an ice cube tray to freeze to use later. Once it’s frozen you can pop out the pesto cubes and store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer until you’re ready to use them, up to 3 months.