Every summer, we grow several rows of basil. During midsummer, just before dusk, I grab my harvest basket and cutting shears and head for the basil patch.
I fill my basket with large fragrant leaves and head for the kitchen to make my Spinach-Basil Pesto. Spinach boosts the nutritional value of the pesto, but I also like to add arugula or kale as well.
During the lean growing months of winter, it is difficult to find enough basil to make a batch of pesto. Since spinach grows in temperatures below 70°F, it makes for a budget-friendly cold-weather companion to basil in making pesto.
Even the timidest gardener will attempt to grow basil. You can begin your herb in a modest terra cotta pot and nurture the basil all summer. When well cared for, the basil plant will produce prolifically throughout the summer.
For those of us in the U.S. whose growing seasons are limited by plummeting temperatures, summer is the time to consider making pesto and freezing it to liven bleak winter meals.
Freeze the emerald sauce in small bags or containers. My pesto recipe is dairy-free and Whole30 compliant.
For simple dinners, toss the pesto with chicken or vegetables. If you add dairy to your diet, you can grind high-quality Parmesan cheese before you serve your dish.
- 2 cups of fresh spinach, stems removed
- 2 cups of fresh basil, stems removed
- 1 cup of garlic infused olive oil (or plain olive oil and add extra minced garlic)
- 1 tsp of course salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp of minced garlic (or to taste)
- 1/2 cup of walnuts (budget friendly nut) or pine nuts
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until a smooth, thick consistency is achieved.