When I was pregnant with my youngest daughter, I wanted to prep some of those "freezer meals" to have ready to eat during the early hectic months of having a new baby. I learned as a breastfeeding momma with my first child that tomatoes I eat can cause gas in the baby I breastfeed. So many of freezer meals are tomato based!
I was also leaning further away from "boxed foods". I wanted to increase the nutritional value of the food my family and I eat. I've found it to be cheaper and it just tastes better!
Added to that, I started putting spinach in everything, because we all know what a superfood spinach is. When I increased my spinach consumption between my first and second child, my blood pressure went down. I started insisting my family consume a lb a week.
Voila, Spinach Basil Pesto
It's a versatile recipe, really counting on you tasting and adding as you feel appropriate. This ingredient list is perfect for my family's taste buds, but be prepared to taste while you make and adjust accordingly. I also use a large food processor to make it, so you'll need to tailor your ingredients based to the size of your food processor. You'll see I've made a couple of substitutions from a typical pesto. First, obviously by adding spinach, second by changing pine nuts to walnuts. I love the taste of walnuts and find them much more affordable.
Once made, I love to freeze this recipe in 1/4 cup pucks. I'll line a cookie sheet with wax paper, drop some pucks on the wax paper, then freeze for an hour or two. At that point, the pucks are generally solid enough to store in a freezer bag (a scrap of wax paper between them doesn't hurt). The pucks melt easily in a pound of warm pasta (start with 1 puck per pound, maybe add an extra swirl of olive oil when serving). I've also defrosted, warmed then served over grilled chicken, sometimes with an extra slice of cheese melted on top.
This recipe got me through many impromptu last minute party hosting opportunities while managing life with a two year old and a newborn. I also used it as a base for warm pasta salads, and added in some mozzarella chunks and chopped tomatoes. It's easy to dress up for short notice bbqs or keep simple for family dinners. It's great for a spread on bread, or mixed in with hardboiled eggs as a pesto egg salad. You'll love the amount of spinach in it. They'll love the flavor.
Spinach Basil Pesto
A perfect sauce for dressing up potluck meals or throwing together simple family dinners. Freeze what you aren't using in 1/4 cup pucks.
- Pack the food processor with everything but the olive oil.
- Start running the food processor and add the olive oil slowly, until it gets to the consistency you are looking for (spreadable, not too loose). You may not use the full 3/4 cup.
- Stop the food processor to taste it, add in anything to achieve the taste you want, then process until mixed.
Written by Kerri Haack for The Healthy Moms Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.