Spinach Pesto


After the food debauchery of last week, I needed a total detox from all things heavy, buttery, sauce-laden and sugary.  So, basically anything that tastes good.  I had a wonderful time eating my way through this magnificent city–and would do it again in an artery clogged heartbeat–but I decided to take this week to try to incorporate some vegetables and whole grains and fruit into my meals.  Woo hoo….?

The thing about having so many tasty dishes over the course of a week is that my tastebuds and body have completely gotten used to all of the goodness, so I knew that if I wanted to eat well this week I was going to have to find big, bold flavors to trick myself into doing it. 

Luckily, I was actually craving spinach (strange, I know.  When I was a kid one of my favorite lunches was ground beef and spinach, which my mother would put in my Wonder Woman thermos.  Any wonder that I used to bribe kids with cookies to sit with me at lunch?).  I knew, though, that if I had to come home after a day of work and some [very little] time at the gym and sit down to a plate of spinach salad, I was going to reach for the phone to make a reservation at the closest place serving anything decadent.  But really, how many ways are there to make spinach fun? And quick? And easy? 

For some reason, spinach pesto popped into my head and I’m really happy it did.  Not only did I get to feel all manner of virtuous as I tore up my spinach leaves and chopped my garlic and grated my parmesan cheese, I had a delicious way of eating my veggies and not feel like I was suffering. 

In full honesty, I think you’d have to eat the equivalent of a jar of the pesto to actually get the full benefits of a serving of spinach, but let’s not burst my little healthy bubble, ok?

Making the pesto was easy, and I say this even after I had to use a blender to do it (I don’t own a food processor–something I was really annoyed about at 7 in the morning when I was making this pesto so that I would have it all ready to go when I got home).  I ended up making whole grain pasta and grilling some chicken, and voila! A completely healthy and tasty meal that didn’t leave me feeling deprived or unsatisfied, which would have also made me super crabby.  And no one needs that.

I was happy to have a week of simplicity and goodness.  Especially after I read about Chicago Chef Week.  See you there? 

Spinach Pesto

  • 4 cups washed, torn spinach leaves, stems removed, well packed
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2-3 basil leaves, torn
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Place a few spinach leaves, garlic, basil and a little oil in blender or food processor container.  Cover and puree until leaves begin to look crushed.  Continue adding spinach leaves a few at a time with small amounts of oil to blender, using a rubber spatula to help combine pureed mixture.  Add cheese and salt.  Cover and process until mixture is smooth.

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2 Responses to Spinach Pesto

  1. A. Van Fleet says:

    Wow Heather:

    You make restaurant week sound wonderful. How lucky you are, indeed, to be able to share good food and wine with friends. I loved reading every word of it.
    A. Van Fleet

  2. A. Van Fleet says:

    Heather:

    Your writing and photos make me feel as if I’m sitting with you in your kitchen.

    You love life and, of course, good food.
    A.Van Fleet

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