Spinach & Basil Pesto

The only place I can seem to find pesto here sells it in tiny little jars that cost 4 Euros each, I still buy it because I love it so much. It’s so versatile that you can use it for a whole lot of different things, mix it with pasta, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for a quick pasta salad. You can just eat it on fresh bread, use it for pizza. It’s a great starting point for all sorts of things.  I knew as soon as my lovely indoor Basil plant had begun to take over its pot [read: flea market earthenware water jug] that I would be making lots and lots of pesto and this week, as my plant had begun to look a little “leggy” I knew it was that time.

You actually need to keep your basil plant regularly trimmed so that it will continue to produce leaves throughout the growing season, I didn’t think that would be a problem as I use it so much, but I obviously thought wrong. A single basil plant can yield around 12 cups of leaves in one season if cared for properly, that’s a whole lot of basil!

The spinach in my vegetable garden has also been doing wonderfully, we have one long row of tasty looking leaves flanked on one side by our bean plants, which are now over an inch high. On the other side are some stepping stones and then two tomato plants, which  had to be staked a couple of weeks ago and are currently covered in little yellow flowers. I seriously can’t wait for those tomatoes!

Now, I really love spinach, but we do have rather a lot of it and there’s only so much spinach salad a person can eat in a week. I was going to freeze some to use later, but then I thought “I have a ton of basil and a ton of spinach. Surely I can make something with this?” I saw my little jar of over-priced pesto sitting in the fridge and that cartoon lightbulb appeared above my head, “Ooooh! Spinach pesto!”

This is great too, because you can put the finished pesto into ice-cube trays and pop it in the freezer. Honestly I’m not sure how long it will last in there, ours gets eaten so quickly. I’m also still getting over my “But if they’re frozen, that means they’re immortal, right?” attitude towards the freezer. But this does freeze, you need to omit the cheese if you’re planning on freezing it and then add it after you’ve thawed the pesto for eating. I’m guessing that it’ll last around a month in there but don’t quote me on that.

Spinach & Basil Pesto

Blend 1 1/2 cups spinach leaves, 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit if you are freezing the pesto),  2 chopped cloves garlic, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest and 1/2 cup olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed.

Taste the pesto and add more lemon juice, salt, or garlic if desired.

Pour into ice cube trays to freeze, or store in the fridge in an airtight container.

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  1. Hi! I’m visiting from SITS! I love basil, but my plants never last long. I’m going to try trimming them instead of pulling the leaves off the plant when I use them!
    .-= Cheryl D.´s last blog ..Drama Queen =-.

    • You should look it up, there’s a way to do it that results in even move leaves, something to do with pinching the new leaf buds? I can’t remember off hand!

  2. Raquel

    I love pesto too! Last year when I was house bound with my broken kneecap, a friend of mine brought over homemade and grown pesto with fresh bread. It was delicious! The had made if the previous summer and it had been in the freezer. I even asked if I could have more.

    Your father in law loves it too, so recently he bought 2 basil plants that are in the garden. Thank you for the tips on how to care for the basil, now I’ll know what to do.

    • I love it on fresh bread! I’ve been learning to bake bread so that we can have it at home. I still cheat sometimes and get it from the bakery!

  3. this looks awesome, i love pesto, I think we will be trying this out tonight!

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  6. I had to laugh when I read your comment about the “immortality” of frozen food! You could be describing me! LOL
    Love the pesto recipe…I use hummus in the same way that you apparently use pesto. I’ve got to try this recipe to see what the rage is all about.

    • I added some of it to a pasta salad i made for my husbands work function/potluck yesterday. The rather large bowl of it was empty when I went back to claim it, so i guess it went down well!

  7. omg I am a pesto nutcase! I LOVE PESTO! I’ve used the Jamie Oliver recipe before, it was to die for. I will have to try this, as it’s a great way of getting that iron into the mix! YEAH! I am also really glad to hear that other people thought that freezer food was immortal. I sorta carry that attitude too.
    .-= Mesina´s last blog ..FYI, you can never be too prepared =-.

    • My husband had to talk me out of the freezer food thing, haha.

      I’ve never tried to Jamie Oliver recipe, I’ll have to go look for it as I still have a lot of Basil, thanks!

  8. oh, i love pesto! i dont have a blender or a food processor, so i end up buying the overpriced jars. i do plan on starting my own herb garden…

    following you now from SITS 🙂
    .-= cheri´s last blog ..FIFA!!!!! =-.

  9. Visiting from SITS! 🙂 I just grew my own basil for the first time ever, and I hadn’t a clue as to what I was going to make with it. I love pesto, and this recipe looks so delicious. I’d love to give it a try!
    Samantha´s last post ..Number Four + Homemade Popsicles

  10. I would love for you to add this to my Tasty Tuesdays meme (next Tues) if you are interested in playing along. It looks fantastic.
    alicia´s last post ..Let’s talk shop.

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