I think it was Plato who said “necessity is the mother of invention.” Never has this maxim resonated more with me than in the kitchen, where many surprisingly tasty meals were born out of sheer lack of options coupled with a strong desire to eat. This spinach pesto is a good example.
It was one of those nights when the cupboards were bare save for some pasta, a bag of nuts, and a couple of cloves of garlic. In the fridge, I spied something green, which turned out to be spinach. I thought to myself: “If only that spinach were basil! Then I could have some crazy-good pesto pasta for dinner.”
Mulling it over a bit, I figured it probably wouldn’t taste awful if I substituted spinach for basil. It might even taste good, and I knew it would be healthy. Besides, what I always taste most when I eat pesto is the garlic. And the salt. And the olive oil. So I gave it a whirl—literally, in the food processor—and the results were beyond-expectations yummy.
This simple spinach pesto works well as a pizza and pasta sauce, a dip for crudités and breadsticks, or spooned over steamed veggies. I sometimes put a dollop on homemade minestrone soup to kick up the flavor, too. Feel free to experiment with the greens you use (arugula is lovely as well), try different nuts, and always use a quality olive oil for the tastiest results.
Makes 1 cup
4 cups spinach, washed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast (optional)
In a food processor or using an immersion blender, pulse all ingredients until pesto is smooth with a bright-green hue. Serve with crudités, breadsticks, or as a sauce for pasta, pizza, or steamed vegetables.
ABOUT AURELIA D'ANDREA
Veg fashion blogger Aurelia d’Andrea has devoted a disproportionately large portion of her life to scouring thrift stores, vintage boutiques, and flea markets in search of sartorial treasures, and has a closet full of frocks to prove her passion for the hunt. Going veg taught her to sharpen her style skills, and confirmed what she’d suspected all along: It really is possible to develop a fashionable point of view and keep your ethics intact, too. She lives in Paris where she blogs (My Vegan Parisian Aventure), writes books (Moon Living Abroad in France), and eats way too many carbs.