Basil Spinach Pesto

Katherine shares a simple basil spinach pesto recipe that makes adding a sauce or dip to dinner especially easy!
Katherine Andrew Headshot

By KATHERINE ANDREW, MPH, RD, LDN

Whether you have basil growing in your backyard, or just keep eyeing it in the store, this simple basil spinach pesto makes adding a sauce or dip to dinner especially easy!   While most pesto recipes use pine nuts, I love to encourage clients to use whatever you have on hand – almonds and walnuts, for example, each work great. Similarly, parmesan gives pesto that nutty and slightly spicy spin, but manchego can be a great substitute if that’s what you have in the fridge.  Use this pesto as a dip with crackers, on top of grilled chicken, steak or fish, or tossed with quinoa or pasta for a quick and easy summer grain salad.

INGREDIENTS⁠

2 cups of basil leaves, loosely packed ⁠

1 cup raw spinach or kale ⁠

1/3 cup raw pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts⁠

1/4 cup parmesan cheese ⁠

Juice of 1/2 small lemon (~2 Tbsp) ⁠

1/2 tsp salt ⁠

1/4 tsp pepper ⁠

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil ⁠

Optional: 1-2 cloves of garlic

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a food processor or blender, chop pine nuts or other nuts into small pieces – approximately 30 seconds. Avoid pureeing the nuts into a cream. ⁠
  2. Add in basil, greens, parmesan, lemon, salt, pepper, and garlic if using, then process briefly until evenly mixed – approximately 15 seconds. ⁠
  3. Turn on blender or food processor and slowly pour olive oil in.  Process until desired consistency, stopping at least once to scrape sides of food processor with a spatula.  Add more oil for a smoother and/or milder texture.  ⁠
  4. Taste and season with more salt or pepper, as needed.

Katherine Andrew, MPH, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Masters degree in Public Health with nearly fifteen years of experience in community public health and private nutrition counseling. Her work experience includes individual and group health counseling, interactive workshops, food systems consulting, non-profit program development and management, and safe skin care advocacy and promotion. She works with clients to identify and address health concerns, navigate food sensitivities, explore body image, plan healthy meals for themselves and their families, evaluate and improve hormone health, maximize stress management, and restore their relationship with eating so they can enjoy food and thrive. Gut health, food sensitivities, hormones, family food dynamics, and intuitive eating are a few of Katherine’s passions and specialties.

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