How many of you love pesto? I know I love it, but am not always a fan of the basil versions. I’ve experimented with many different pesto recipes and found that I prefer versions that don’t use basil leaves as the base. Here are two of my favorite pesto recipes, along with a new one I plan to try in the coming weeks. They are presented in order of preference with spinach always being my first choice. I love to use pesto as a spread for grilled chicken and on tasty panini sandwiches on my grill.
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, well-washed and stemmed
1⁄2 cup fresh parsley, preferably Italian flat leaf
1⁄2 cup walnuts or 1⁄2 cup pine nuts
1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Place all ingredients into food processor and process to a fine paste.
Taste and adjust seasonings and transfer to a glass container and top with a thin coat of olive oil to prevent the top of the pesto from discoloring.
Keeps for weeks in the refrigerator. (Food.com)
1 cup packed fresh spinach leaves
1/2 large ripe avocado
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons water, plus more if necessary
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
sea salt & pepper
Add spinach, avocado, garlic, pine nuts and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse for 20 seconds or until pesto is chopped. Add in water and process again until completely smooth. You may need to add more water to get desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. (Ambitious Kitchen)
This version uses no oil and it is super creamy and delicious and is a great substitute for mayonnaise. I also love it as a spread and dipping sauce.
Fresh Pea Pesto
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp fine lemon zest
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Pulse peas, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice and zest in a food processor. With machine running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well combined. Season generously with salt and pepper. Serve as a spread, on grilled fish, or over your choice of hot pasta. (Dr. Weil)
Just a note on the nuts. I have tried all different types of nuts in my pesto sauce. I’ve used pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pistachio, etc. I’ve found they all work well, so if you don’t have pine nuts no need to fret. I can’t wait to try the pea pesto as it sounds heavenly and just perfect for the upcoming fresh pea season.
I make my pesto in my blender to avoid investing in a food processor. This one works really well and is easy to use and clean.
What recipe swaps have you made? Please share your recipe below.