I have always looooved pesto! When I was younger my mom would make these open-faced toasts with homemade pesto as the bottom layer, then tomato slices and mozzarella on top, and she would place them in the oven until the cheese had melted over the entire toast. This was my absolute favorite appetizer dish! I would sometime eat so many toasts that it would constitute my entire dinner. Later, when I started university in Canada, I would make these at my best friend’s place and I would even sprinkle some herbes de Provence on top of it all (my own personal touch, or so I believed). Although you would traditionally associate pesto with pasta dishes (which I also love!), I enjoy the versatility of uses that pesto has to offer.
At the time when I would devour all of my mom’s toasts, I didn’t even know what pesto was made of. I just knew I loved its taste. Now I understand that what I was really enjoying was its key ingredient: basil. Basil is definitely in my top three favorite herbs – yes, I do ask myself which herbs I would choose if I could only pick three. If you’re wondering, the other two are dill and cilantro. Even though traditional pesto includes parmesan cheese in its ingredients, I find that the flavor doesn’t change if you replace that with nutritional yeast. Again, the star here is the basil. All the other ingredients are just supporting actors. Speaking of which, spinach is a great addition to a pesto recipe! It adds protein and texture, without impeding on the flavor. This recipe is very simple to make and you can use it in any kind of dishes. In fact, I encourage you to be creative! If you need inspiration, you can always try it with the zucchini noodles recipe I posted earlier. :)
Spinach Pesto – serves: 1 large bowl | prep time: 10 min | cooking time: none
- 1½ cup fresh basil
- 1½ cup fresh spinach
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- a pinch of Mediterranean fleur de sel (coarse sea salt)
- pepper to taste
Simply add all ingredients in a food processor, following the order of the ingredients’ list, until you reach a smooth consistency. If necessary, add a splash of water if the pesto isn’t creamy enough. You can store it all up to a few days in the fridge, or divide and keep half or more in the freezer for future use. Enjoy!