Spinach-Basil Pesto

This pesto is so simple, and its mild, herbaceous flavor makes it the ideal companion for just about any of the meatballs. While many pesto recipes call for pine nuts, we prefer the flavor (and lower price) of walnuts. Try roughly chopping them to add a nice, crunchy texture. We also love this as a healthy party dip, especially because it has no raw garlic — your guests will thank you too! You can swap arugula for spinach if you prefer. Pesto freezes well and will keep for up to three months in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated rennet-free Parmesan cheese
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (32 servings)

      40 calories; 4 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 2 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 0 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 0 grams sugars; 0 grams protein; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 76 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

4 cups

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread out the walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven for about 12 minutes, giving them a shake after 6 minutes. Continue roasting until golden brown and toasted. Set aside and allow to cool thoroughly.
  2. Fill a large stockpot three-quarters full with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl half way up with ice and water and set close to the sink.
  3. Dump the spinach and basil into the boiling water and stir. After 1 minute, strain the greens, and plunge them into the bowl with ice water. Drain the greens again and squeeze them tightly to get as much water out as possible. Chop the greens roughly.
  4. Combine the greens and walnuts with the salt, olive oil and Parmesan in a food processor and process until a smooth consistency is reached. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired.

30 minutes

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