For anyone that has peanut and tree nut allergies, this homemade, nut-free spinach and basil pesto recipe is perfect.
NUT-FREE SPINACH AND BASIL PESTO RECIPE
Have you ever gone to the grocery store, and your good intentions drove you to throw a container of baby spinach into the cart? Only to go home and see that there is already a container of spinach in the refrigerator, wilting and looking depressed? Maybe you haven’t, but I sure as heck have. At that moment, I am greeted with a choice, do I: a) put the wilted spinach in the freezer, so I can make soups later this year that kind of taste like the freezer? b) make a massive salad and try to ignore the slightly slimy texture of the old spinach? c) plan to make a bunch of smoothies this week, and hope that I can finish the spinach before it liquifies? Or, d) use up the old spinach by making a delicious Nut-free Spinach & Basil Pesto? In this specific scenario, it is “D”. However, House Hunk Confession: I have also chosen options A, B, and C before, and the results were as unfortunate as those options sounded.
I love pesto. However, I also have a child with severe peanut and tree nut allergies. That means, when I am feeling inspired at the grocery store and reach for a jar of pesto, I am constantly seeing ingredients like “walnuts” and “pinenuts”. Those are a no-go in my household, so, the jar gets put back on the shelf, and I wander off to the spinach section.
Why does pesto usually contain nuts? Basically, the nuts add a little flavor to the recipe and act as a thickener so it doesn’t get too liquidy in certain cuisines. I have found that if you go a bit heavier on the leafy greens and parmesan that the consistency is perfect. Next time you are looking to add variety to your pasta dishes, or your grilled meats and fish whip up this Nut-free Spinach & Basil Pesto Recipe.
WHAT IS PESTO?
Pesto is a sauce originating from Genoa, Italy. This herbaceous sauce is made by blending all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Traditional pesto recipes contain pine nuts, however nut-free recipes can be made, yielding the same flavor palette.
WHAT DOES THIS NUT-FREE PESTO TASTE LIKE?
This Spinach & Basil pesto recipe is light and refreshing. There is a bold basil flavor, however, it is not as strong as recipes that do not include spinach. The addition of spinach is nice because it helps bring the other flavor of olive oil, garlic, and parmesan to the foreground, unlike pestos that only include basil.
NUT-FREE SPINACH AND BASIL PESTO INGREDIENTS
- Baby spinach leaves – 5 cups, packed
- Fresh basil leaves – 2 1/2 cups, packed
- Extra virgin olive oil – 3/4 cup
- Minced garlic – 3 cloves
- Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
- Shredded Parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup
- Salt – 3/4 teaspoon
- Black ground pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
HOW TO MAKE THIS NUT-FREE SPINACH AND BASIL PESTO RECIPE
IS PESTO CONSIDERED HEALTHY?
Spinach & Basil Pesto is considered a very healthy sauce. Basil is a great source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Spinach is loaded with iron, vitamins A, C, and K, manganese, and magnesium. Garlic can help reduce blood pressure. Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and contains large amounts of antioxidants.
CAN YOU MAKE NUT-FREE PESTO AHEAD OF TIME?
WHAT TO SERVE WITH NUT-FREE PESTO?
WHAT KITCHEN TOOLS DO I NEED TO MAKE PESTO?
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for refrigeration or freezing.