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Spinach Basil Pesto

Ahh... how I love my Aerogarden. When we moved a little over a month ago, I was forced to use up the herbs I was growing so that I could start with a fresh set of herbs in my new kitchen. A month later, my Aerogarden has grown some wonderful herbs for me to use...


I currently have 4 kinds of basil (Lemon, Thai, Napolitano, and Red Rubin) as well as Mint, Epazote, and Savory. My basils have been doing well and it was about time to take some and use up. The first thing that came to mind was pesto.


Traditional pesto involves processing fresh basil, grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil together to form a paste. Because I didn't have quite as much basil for a decent batch of pesto, I added some fresh baby spinach to bulk it up.


This Spinach & Basil Pesto was nothing more than the few basil leaves I picked from my garden (from all four kinds of basil), fresh baby spinach leaves, freshly grated parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, sea salt and some extra virgin olive oil. I don't have precise measurements of these ingredients since I based it on looks and consistency.... which is not too thick or too thin. (I know, that probably doesn't clarify either...)


The great thing about pesto is how versatile this simple mixture is. It's wonderful tossed with hot pasta, over chicken, on top of pizza, as a spread on sandwiches or paninis, etc. Even better is that it holds up well in the fridge and freezer! I know this batch will probably last me a a week or two so stay tuned to future recipes in which I use it!

  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.


12 comments

  1. What a beautiful bright green pesto! So much prettier than the store-bought pesto. I'm envious that you have lemon basil right now. I can't wait to have some sprouting up in my garden this summer. It has such a beautiful fragrance and flavor.

    http://www.cookincanuck.com

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  2. Beautiful Pesto! I love pesto its so versatile and so flavorful. I bet you can make some great combinations from all of your herb varieties.

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  3. That's a great idea to add spinach leaves to the mix when you don't have enough basil! I'm going to buy some herbs for my porch really soon, now that it's starting to act like spring.

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  4. Yum! You're making me jealous with your Aerogarden! I love topping salmon with pesto... sooo good!

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  5. I so want an aerogarden, but DH thinks it's fug and takes up too much space. Boo!

    I'm LOVING all the light in your new kitchen - I'm so jealous!!

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  6. I'm so jealous of your aerogarden! But with having three cats there is no way anything would ever grow - they like to nibble on any and all plants! Darn. Oh well. I can atleast grow herbs in pots on my patio in the warm months.

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  7. beautiful! my parents have an aerogarden. we can't cuz our cats would get into it. but our outdoor garden is doing well so hopefully i can make this soon!

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  8. I'm on a spinach kick lately and I love basil, I'll have to try this.

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  9. Which Aerogarden model do you have?

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  10. Christina - I have the Classic Aerogarden which holds 7 pods of herbs. You can get more details from the site: http://www.aerogrow.com/

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  11. Spinach basil pesto is my favorite. I'm totally jealous of the Aerogarden. I've planted some basil, oregano, and rosemary in my garden this year and I can't wait for them to grow.

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  12. Pesto is so simple and so good!

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