Pesto is far more versatile than given credit for- my recent appreciation for this Italian staple has opened my eyes to the many possibilities of form and flavour it can take on.
I'm certain the list of ingredients that I've been experimenting with would have your Italian grandmother rolling over in her grave. A classic Italian Pesto consists of basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan. However, I was sure we could squeeze more nutrients and vitamins in there, after all, it's green! After dabbling with basil substitutes such as swiss chard, kale, and spinach, playing with cheese versus no cheese, and replacing pine nuts with every nut under the tree, I stumbled across a recipe that achieves both nutritional value and great taste.
Nutrition Stripped Spinach Basil Pesto recipe includes the key ingredient to any great pesto: basil. Without basil, however which way you make it, its flavour will simply be lacklustre. Three other reasons why I think this recipe is awesome: walnuts, hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. These include an amazing combination of essential fatty acids, omega 3, vitamin B-12, amino acids and protein.
A food processor, Vitamix, or Jamie Oliver's pestle and mortar technique can be used to prepare this recipe. So, go whip up your batch! You'll have enough for my Zucchini & Soba Noodles with Walnut Spinach Pesto (recipe to be posted later this week), and some left over for other creative inspirations such as pesto toast with poached eggs, pesto portobello parmesan pizza, lemon pesto hummus, and tomato pesto grilled cheese.