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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Spinach Basil Pesto

Spinach, parsley, and basil make a wonderful summer pesto that can be used in a variety of ways.  This pesto has an interesting mild flavor and is very easy to make. 

With my prolific crop of summer basil this week, I've made a significant amount of pesto. 
I've been eating homemade fresh spinach basil pesto on just about everything and I froze some. 

It tasted great tossed in gluten free pasta, pesto with zoodles,  spaghetti squash,  tossed in salad, stuffed in  raw button  mushrooms, spread on crackers, etc.  

fresh green basil plant

 I used green basil for this recipe, but there are many varieties of basil. I grow three different types: Thai Basil, green basil, and purple basil. Each has it's own unique flavor and each adds an interesting kick to my recipes. This is basil season and you can grow it all summer in a container.

purple basil growing in a planter

basil in a pot

Basil is very easy to grow.  I bought a few organic small plants from Whole Foods (or a local farm store) and divided them into a few containers ( there is still time for you to do this) . 

I  removed the plastic pot that the basil came in, broke up the ball of soil a little and replanted the basil plant in a pot twice the size ( adding potting soil)  than the one it came in and one that has good drainage ( you can add gravel if you have to for better drainage).

The basil will grow all summer as long as you keep clipping it and don't let the plants begin to flower and go to seed. If you have space to plant your basil plants in the ground that works even better. I have some growing in the ground as well.

3 Tips You Need To Remember When Growing Basil: 

  • Basil likes sunlight
  • Basil likes water 
  • Basil likes to be well drained
Once your basil is growing, you can clip it to add to daily salads, morning omelettes, hot or cold soups, caprese salads ( basil and mozzarella cheese). Fresh basil tastes amazing! And fresh herbs are potently rich in immune building antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Greens help you detox and cleanse
This delicious combination of spinach, parsley and basil can be made in minutes in the food processor and provides lots of greens to boost your chlorophyll intake which helps to naturally cleanse your system. What a great pesto !

The Pesto Recipe

Author: Judee Algazi @gluten free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None


1/2 cup of fresh organic parsley
1 cup of fresh basil 
1 and half cups of fresh organic baby spinach
3/4 -1 cup of raw nuts ( walnuts, or pecans, or pine nuts- each will impart a different flavor) 
1/4 cup freshly grated good quality Parmesan or Romano cheese ( vegans can omit) 
1/4 cup ( or more olive oil) 
1 clove of fresh garlic pressed ( optional- sometimes I'm not in the mood) 
cracked pepper to taste

Add the greens to the food processor and begin to process , then as the processor is running add the nuts, pepper and garlic. As it begins to form a paste add olive oil while the processor is running until pesto is smooth. In this recipe, the oil is a must.

My Notes : 
  • I store my pesto in a covered container for 3 or 4 days. 
  • If your pesto drys out, add a little oil to it ( mine never does) 
  • For variety, try making pesto each time with a different nut. It totally changes the flavor. I like the flavor of all three. Pine nuts and pecans are fairly expensive, so I've been sticking to raw walnuts  (raw walnuts are cracked right out of the shell type -as opposed to roasted walnuts- the raw variety works best in pesto)  
  • I think the pesto tastes really good with or without the garlic- depends on my mood
  • I buy a wedge of imported Pecorino Cheeese ( mine says Pecorino Roman " Fulvi" from the mountains of Italy and it's from grass fed cows with no hormones.) It comes in a HUGE barrel size hunk of cheese and the store cuts and wraps in the store in 1/2 pound pieces. It is outrageously delicious in pesto. 
  • Add pesto to omelettes, top a little of gf pizza, on gf bread with cheese
Antioxidants:  Herbs  like oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, and basil have provide excellent health giving properties and  have been depended on for thousands of years to add powerful antioxidants to to people's food..Check out the Other herbs that I grow and some tasty recipes

***shared this link on Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish  which is a weekend food linky open to anyone with a food related post to share.

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  1. I have to come back and read this. It is too late now. I grow basil. Tonight, I made a zucchini basil pesto and it was yummy. I have to try this with spinach.

  2. Chaya, The reason I add the spinach is that sometimes it's hard to find a really large enough quantity of basil to make pesto. The spinach is always plentiful in the supermarket and adds a very mild taste. It's a perfect duo.

  3. After I found your recipe, when I went to the store, I bought pine nuts to make my own pesto.It will be the first time I have afforded the nuts, but I know my hubby will enjoy, he does not like a tomato base sauce. Thanks for stopping by, glad I have this post to refer back to now. Enjoy your weekend!!!

  4. Hi Judee,
    I love the beautiful herbs in the garden this time of year and this is a great recipe to try. Hope you have had a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  5. Fab pesto, Judee. Hope you bring it on over to Food on friday: Italian Food. Cheers from Carole's Chatter

  6. OMG it all looks SO good - i may have to try this.... :D

  7. I love basil and this sounds super yummy! Thanks for sharing it with Share Your Cup.

  8. It's fun to experiment with different nuts and "green things" to add to pesto. Great frugal tip to add spinach to pesto.

  9. This looks absolutely wonderful! Thank you for posting it here for us.


  10. My pesto recipe is a lot simpler, but I'd like to try this one sometime.

    1. I would love to try yours. Did you post it on your blog?

  11. The purple does add a special color to most dishes over the traditional green basil.

  12. I adore pesto, especially with lots and lots of basil. :)

    1. Beth,
      I agree and it is basil season right now so the basil is extremely prolific- the perfect time to make pesto


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