Oh, gluten-free spinach pesto, how I love thee.
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About This Pesto Recipe
Pesto is one of my favorite things to make with fresh basil. Before we left for our travels around the world, our previous apartment had a balcony where I would grow plants. I would grow basil and use it to make gluten-free pesto on a regular basis.
Now, our new apartment is much smaller and lacks any outdoor space. Due to the lack of fresh herbs, I’ve gotten creative in making pesto that still tastes really good (while accumulating a ridiculous amount of houseplants).
This gluten-free spinach pesto is a bit different from the traditional basil pesto. It uses spinach instead of basil leaves but plenty of parmesan cheese. And it's so good you might not even miss the basil!
With the creaminess of the cashews or pine nuts, combined with garlic and rich olive oil, it packs all of the depth and flavor of traditional pesto - just without the basil.
Ingredients You Will Need
Pesto is simple - you only need a few ingredients to make this tasty sauce!
-Pine Nuts or Cashews
- Kosher Salt
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Tips For Making Spinach Pesto
To make this pesto, you'll definitely want a food processor. It's a great kitchen tool for making homemade sauces like pesto, as well as chopping nuts, making homemade peanut butter, and more. This is the food processor I've been using for 5 years which has never let me down. You could also do this the old fashioned way with a mortar and pestle but it's going to be quite the arm workout!
When you decide it's time to make pesto, do yourself a favor and make a double batch. It goes quickly, and you're going to want LOTS of it.
How To Serve Gluten-Free Spinach Pesto
Pesto goes perfectly over pasta or rice, and even gluten-free gnocchi!
But it's also really good in a grilled cheese sandwich, over breaded chicken cutlets, or even just on toast with some tomatoes! Or you can add it to gluten-free garlic bread to really kick the flavor up a notch.
Pesto Tips For Pasta
Fun Fact: Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy. We tried some authentic pesto Genovese during our travels and it was incredible! Our friend Roberto, also from Genoa, shared his knowledge of pesto with us in this post. Roberto suggests using some of your warm gluten-free pasta water to thin out the pesto sauce when you serve it. It's my new technique for eating pasta with pesto!
Looking for more gluten-free pasta dishes?
You can't go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs. It's a classic!
Have another vegetarian pasta dish with penne alla vodka.
Do you have a ton of cherry tomatoes to use up? Try it in this burst cherry tomato spaghetti.
Want something else with lots of vegetables? Make pasta primavera.
Try gluten-free pad thai, with rice noodles and flavors right from Thailand.
Check out over 100+ gluten-free recipes on the blog right here.
Gluten-Free Spinach Pesto
A great pesto recipe when you don't have basil!
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese, cut into cubes
- 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup nuts (my favorites are pine nuts or cashews)
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- 3 cups tightly packed spinach leaves
- ⅔ cup olive oil (or more, depending on how runny you like your pesto)
- freshly cooked gluten-free pasta, for serving
Using a food processor and the chopping blade, add the cheese, garlic, and nuts to the bowl and pulse to roughly chop - about 10-12 pulses. Add the spinach leaves, and salt, and pulse 10-15 times. Using a spatula, scrape the bowl on all sides.
With the machine running on low, add olive oil slowly through the feed tube. Continue processing until combined about 1 minute.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more to make sure all spinach leaves have been incorporated. Allow the gluten-free spinach pesto to sit for 15-20 minutes to thicken up.
When serving over gluten-free pasta, reserve about ½ to ¾ cup of of the starchy gluten-free pasta water. Into a glass bowl, add in a couple of tablespoons of pesto, followed by a little bit of the pasta water. Whisk together with a whisk or fork. Then add your hot gluten-free cooked pasta. This will allow the pesto sauce to coat your pasta nicely. Enjoy!
Pesto should be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar and will last for 4-5 days. You can also make pesto using a blender - it's how my Mom makes hers!
How do you make pesto?
What's your favorite way to eat pesto?
Let me know in the comments below!
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