Everyone loves a good pesto right? Great on pasta, on chicken, with fish or even with just a plain old loaf of french bread! I love pesto. My husband and I love experimenting with different combinations to create a new pesto. It doesn’t have to just be basil and pine nuts. It doesn’t, honest. We’ve made it with spinach, kale, watercress and swiss chard. The list goes on. We’ve also replaced the pine nuts with almonds, cashews and pistachios, because come on pine nuts are on the pricey side.
I think this combination of basil and spinach has been my favorite so far, and we’ve made a lot of pesto, so that is really saying something.
I’ve talked before about how I could never keep basil alive in my garden until last year when I had so much I didn’t even know what to do with it. So last year we were eating a ton of bruschetta. Well the same happened again this year. I have so much basil it’s actually ridiculous. I may have planted a few to many basil plants, but in my defense we had a frost at the beginning of the season and I thought I was going to loose two of my basil plants. They weren’t looking so good. So I went back to the store to replace the two that I thought I lost and just for good measure I bought four plants instead of two. Well turns out I’m a basil whisperer because those two plants I “lost” are growing like crazy.
My basil is so full I can’t even tell how many plants I actually have planted in my garden. Thankfully we have thousands of tomatoes to eat with all that basil. My two year old loves to wrap cherry tomatoes in basil leaves and eat that as a snack. Strange snack for a two year old I know, but he sees mommy and daddy doing it and he seem to love it so I’m not going to complain.
Making pesto is so easy and the thing I love most about it is that it freezes so well. It’s the best to make lots of extra pesto in the summer when you have all the fresh basil in your garden or when it’s in season and it wont cost you an arm and a leg at the store. Let’s be real, buying basil in the winter puts a dent in your wallet – at least where I live, especially if you need it to make pesto, you need a lot of basil! So take advantage of the basil being in season and stock up and make some pesto!
Freezing pesto couldn’t be easier. All I do is spoon the finished pesto into ice cube trays cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer. After the pesto is completely frozen I pop out the cubes toss them into a freezer bag and repeat the process until the pesto is gone. It’s great, in a few days or weeks when I need pesto for my dinner I just take out a few cubes and let them defrost and viola, pesto!
The other great thing about this particular pesto is that it is full of spinach. You are getting a ton of vitamins from the spinach and you wont even notice that you are eating it. I love that! Great to get some nutrition into your kids.
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup cashews, unsalted
- 3 cup basil, loosely packed
- 5 cups spinach, firmly packed
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- In a food processor combine the garlic and cashews and pulse a few times to break them up.
- Add the basil and spinach and pulse until combined. It may take a few batches. Scrape down the sides of the food processor between batches.
- Add the cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
- With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until all the ingredients are well combined and no chunks are left.
- If you don't like a strong garlic flavor start with two cloves, you can always add more.
- You may end up needing a little more or a little less olive oil, it all depends on what consistency you like your pesto to be.