Pesto is so easy to make! Seriously, just throw all the ingredients into a food processor, and bam, PESTO! You don’t really have to follow a recipe, just basic guidelines – something green, parmesan, olive oil, nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and that’s it, pesto! For this recipe, I did a little twist on traditional pesto and added spinach, walnuts, and lemon. And it’s perfect. The recipe makes about 2 cups worth, enough that if you don’t use it all up within a week, you can freeze the rest. I like to freeze any leftover pesto in an ice cube tray; makes it easy to use just a few tablespoons at a time.
I never really had pesto growing up. I don’t know if my parents didn’t like it or what… I always thought of it as a “fancy” food. Part of me thinks that pesto might have been too expensive…. I mean, pine nuts – pine nuts are crazy expensive, and they will cost you a small fortune. Traditional pesto has all pine nuts.
For this recipe I used both walnuts and pine nuts to help with the cost. Walnuts are kind of expensive too though…. Actually, all nuts are expensive right now. I think I spent $50 on nuts at Costco a few weeks ago! (But mostly because I try to keep my Costco treks to a minimum, and so I stocked up big time. I’m addicted to their unsalted mixed nuts, the mix that has cashews, almonds, pecans, and pistachios. Kris and I always pick out all the cashews first so I starting buying mixed nuts and cashews and then I mix them together so we get the perfect ratio of cashews in our mixed nuts!)
Anyway, back to the pesto, you really can make it however you want. I’ve used all walnuts when I’ve made pesto in the past and almonds work too. Really you can use whatever you prefer. I decided to add lemon juice and zest too. I like that little bit of tart, citrusy flavor. I also used a mix of both spinach and basil but you could use all spinach or all basil. You can use pesto for so many dishes: pasta, sandwiches, eggs, zoodles, pizza, chicken, etc. Enjoy! Let me know how you make your pesto, and how you like to use it!
- 2 cups Spinach
- 4 oz package of Basil (~2 cups)
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ½ cup shredded parmesan
- ½ cup olive oil
- Lemon zest from half a lemon
- Lemon juice from half a lemon
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Combine spinach, basil, garlic, pine nuts, walnuts, and parmesan in a food processor.
- Pulse ingredients until they're are roughly chopped
- Add in olive oil and pulse until smooth
- Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Pesto will stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week or freeze for up to three months.