Spinach Pesto

Pistachio Spinach Pesto

 

I love pesto! It’s one of these easy, delicious concoctions that can be spread on or tossed with anything. The Pistachio Spinach Pesto is one such wonders. The creamy, rich pistachios blend marvelously with the nutritious, brilliant green spinach. The resulting pesto is satisfyingly nutty, a little sweet, garlicky, with a hint of lime.

Spinach Pesto
Pistachio Spinach Pesto

The Wonder Greens, Spinach.

We all grew up eating spinach. Did your Mom force down green goo when you were a child? Told you that it was so good for you and helps in your cognitive function? She was right. It is all that and more.

Spinach is a leafy, green vegetable, that grows easily, is affordable and one you have no excuse not eating. It is rich in vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, C, and B6. Spinach is rich in beta-carotene which is good for your eyesight.  Eating spinach is known to maintain blood pressure, help fetal development and recommended for people with anemia and neurological disorders.

I love spinach! I can eat it raw or cooked. And my mother never had to force me. I ate it and asked for it voluntarily. My bag is usually overflowing with greens whenever I am shopping for produce. My favorite place to get them is the farmers market where I get to talk to the farmers and get an amazing variety of freshly picked greens.

Pistachios

Wonderful pistachios! They are sweet and gorgeously green in color. High in beneficial fats, Vitamin B6, potassium and a good source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants.  And they are delicious.

Pistachios are a member of the cashew family. They are native to the Middle East. Interestingly, the pistachios that were exported by the Middle East countries before the 1980’s had shells that were dyed a bright red. This was because the shells got stained when harvested in the traditional method and were unappetizing to look at. Read this article, “Red Pistachios: Where Did They Go and Why?” for more information.

Today, though, United States is one of the largest producers of pistachios. About 90%+ of that production comes from California. American pistachio producers dry and hull the nuts before they are able to get stained, so they are a beautiful green.

Pistachio Spinach Pesto

This spinach pesto is like the traditional basil pesto recipe, except the spinach is blanched before blending. And its pistachios instead of pine nuts. And it had NO parmesan. So it’s gluten-free. Though you can add parmesan to it if you want.

Now how can you use it? The first I made was a pasta, easy, nutritious and full of flavor. It was lip-smacking delicious. Since then, I have also used it as a spread on sandwiches, a dip on the cheese board, even spread it on multigrain rotis for a healthy school box lunch.

Try my Dandelion Greens Pesto for a variation.

Spinach Pesto
Pistachio Spinach Pesto Pasta

 

Spinach Pistachio Pesto

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Passive Time 16 ounces

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil + more as needed
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 3 big cloves of Garlic (Use more if you want it more garlicky)
  • 1/4 Cup Pistachios
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh Lime or Lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Peppercorns (Adjust this amount according to taste)
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Wash the Spinach leaves throughly. Blanch the leaves in a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. Immediately plunge them in an ice bath (a bowl of cold water with ice). This will arrest cooking and keep the green color. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
  2. On a sheet tray, line the pistachios in a single layer and bake them in the oven at 350F for 3 minutes till they are hot to touch. This will help when you grind them in the blender/food processor.
  3. In a food processor or blender, pulse/coarsely grind together all the ingredients (greens, garlic, lime/lemon juice, pistachios, black peppercorns and salt). Drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream and blend until smooth.
  4. Transfer the pesto to a bowl or bottle. If you are freezing, then transfer to an airtight container and top with more olive oil. It can be frozen up to 6 months. But I tell you, it doesn’t last that long in my house.
  5. Now the last step – add in grated parmesan cheese (optional) for decadent, nutritious pasta.
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