It’s finally starting to feel like spring here! The birds are chirping, the grass is starting to turn green, and the temperature has been in the 60’s all week! I would love to start growing my garden soon. Green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, fresh herbs, and I might even try some spinach or kale. Alright, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here. I probably should wait another month in case we get a random snowstorm (trust me, it has happened).
Speaking of spinach, I recently started to make and store my own pesto sauce. Ok, I know what you’re thinking: basil is usually the base to a pesto sauce – but this pesto is a nice alternative to regular pestos I grew up eating. It’s nut free, and the spinach is definitely a different taste than you may be use to. I find it very refreshing…. especially for spring time! Spread it on toast or crackers, use in pasta, or use as the sauce to a veggie pizza! It really is great for all of those options, but spreading it on a veggie pizza is definitely my favorite.
I add part of a small bulb of roasted garlic to this to sauce to help compliment the strong spinach flavor. Roasting garlic is definitely time consuming, but totally worth it. If you have never had roasted garlic before, you’re missing out! It’s great is sauces, but you can also spread it on bread or crackers. Trust me, you should find time to give it a try.
After you roast your garlic bulb, add half of it into a food processor or blender with the spinach, parmesan, and half of the olive oil. Once it’s combined, add in the salt, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil and pulse until smooth and totally combined. You can always add more lemon juice to taste, or add a splash more olive oil if needed. Making pesto is fairly easy and very versatile when it comes to your ingredients. You could always choose basil instead of spinach, add in some pine nuts or walnuts if you wish, or maybe double the batch and replace a little of your spinach with some kale! The possibilities are endless.
Spinach and Roasted Garlic Pesto
- 1 cup spinach leaves, packed
- 1 bulb of garlic, roasted
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2-3 tsp lemon juice, to taste
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375℉
- Carefully peel off the outer layers of skin of the garlic bulb, leaving just a thin layer so that the cloves stay attached. Cut off the top 1/4 of the bulb so that all of the cloves are exposed (you can throw it away), and drizzle the top with a little olive oil
- Placing the exposed side up, wrap the garlic bulb in aluminum foil and place in the middle of a muffin tin.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes. The cloves should be very soft, fragrant, and slightly browned on top.
- Remove from the oven and let cool before you unwrap. Set aside.
- In a food processor or blender, add the spinach, parmesan cheese, and half of the olive oil. Add half of the roasted garlic by squeezing out the inside of the bulb (make sure you don't get any skin), and reserve the other half for another use. Pulse until combined.
- Add in the salt, lemon juice, and remaining olive oil. Pulse until smooth and totally combined. Add additional lemon juice to taste, or additional olive oil if needed.
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