Spinach and Basil Pesto

03 Sep 2014

Because who doesn't love pesto?

The sun was shining today, which gave me hope that perhaps summer isn't too far away. I decided to try my hands at this delicious pesto recipe that I found.

Spinach and basil are a great combination of ingredients. I grew up eating a lot of mashed, frozen spinach. You know the kind that Popeye the sailor eats? Yeah, that. Not very tasty but probably good for you. Since moving out of home I've taken to buying the fresh spinach and using it in various ways to spruce things up a bit. The tricky thing working with fresh spinach however is that it shrinks A LOT when cooking. While you may think that two bunches of spinach could feed a family of ten, it doesn't - trust me.


Basil is hands-down one of my favourite herbs. The smell is so fresh and the plant itself produces beautiful shaped leaves and stands so proudly on our patio. It's such a versatile herb and is a must have in many pastas and italian sauces. My mum has recently started to making her own pesto with a pestle and mortar, which is honestly the best way to make pesto as you get all the good juices from the herb. Sadly a pestle and mortar hasn't yet become an object in my kitchen, so I've been using the blender which isn't a bad thing. It's actually much quicker and less work! The trick to finding a nice basil in the store is to looking for ones that are ready to use - big, strong leaves that aren't wilting. If your basil starts flowering you definitely want to chop those flowers off to prevent it from dying.


This pesto can be used in a variety of ways. Some ideas:
-Add to your favourite pasta as a a sauce substitute
-Use as a spread in your sandwich or roll to substitute aioli or mayonnaise
-Throw in a bowl with some cheese and crackers as a tapas
-Add to greek yoghurt and spread on your burger

Of course there are many other ways to use pesto! How do you usually use your pesto? Leave your thoughts below or share your pictures using the hashtag #desiredcooking.


Spinach and Basil Pesto


2 bunches fresh basil
2 bunches fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic
1 punnet chopped walnuts
A good amount of olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste


Wash spinach and basil. Chop the stalks off the spinach.

Combine all ingredients into a blender. Depending on the size of your blender they may not all fit, so you may have to do bits at a time.

Whizz until combined.

Add a layer of olive oil to the top of your pesto when you refrigerate to keep it moist and fresh.


This recipe is inspired by Nutrition Stripped.

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