Homemade Pesto With Basil, Spinach and Walnuts
This homemade pesto incorporates the goodness of spinach (which offers folate, vitamin K and vitamin C) along with omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, which may help to reduce inflammation. While pesto is naturally caloric and a good source of fat, this version is lightened up by using minimal amounts of olive oil and cheese and is lower in sodium than many store-bought brands. I like to make it on a quiet Sunday so that I can have an easy grab-and-go topping for zucchini noodles, pasta or fish after a hectic Monday – it can stay in the fridge for a few days to save some time on days when you are busy.
Ingredients (yields approximately 1 cup or about 8 two-tablespoon servings):
2 C basil leaves, loosely packed
1 C spinach, tightly packed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 oz shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/4 C)
1/4 C walnuts, chopped (use unsalted or reduced sodium to lower salt content of dish)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Wash spinach and basil and pat dry with paper towel, making sure to remove all excess water. Place in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (you may need to sweep the sides with a spoon a few times to get all spinach and basil leaves incorporated).
- Add minced garlic, cheese, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and about half of the oil to basil spinach mixture in food processor. Secure the lid and turn the food processor to high for about 1 minute.
- Add remaining oil, give the mixture a stir, replace the lid of the food processor and continue on high until pesto is smooth. Use as a sauce to accompany your meal or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.
The Goods: What’s Inside?
Nutritional Analysis Per Serving
Calories 102 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Carbohydrates 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 267 mg, Calcium 46 mg