Homemade Spinach Walnut Asiago Pesto

When I was gifted my first ever {decent} food processor for my birthday, I had two things I knew I needed to make asap. The first, two ingredient ice cream, got taken care of while we were still on vacation.  The second was fresh pesto. I returned home eager to whip up my first batch of the delicious green sauce, only to find that both of my basil plants had been badly eaten while away.  Phooey. The project got put on the back burner for a little while until it was time to whip up lunch today and my giant container of organic baby spinach reminded me of something I’ve seen numerous times online… Pesto made with spinach!  Brilliant, really.  Who doesn’t love adding another way to sneak loads of spinach into their family’s meals? So spinach pesto it was. I gathered up my sous chef and a good amount of the basil I did have left in the garden, and got busy.

IMG 6922First, we gathered our ingredients – organic baby spinach, olive oil, sea salt, asiago cheese, basil, lemon, a couple of cloves of garlic, and some walnuts. (I did consider using the pine nuts I have stashed away in the freezer, but those things are like gold nowadays, so walnuts it was. On the plus side, my mom, a health fanatic of many, many years recently told me that everyone should be eating a few walnuts a day, so there you go. Our walnut intake for the day is covered.)

IMG 6926Start out by placing your clean, dry spinach leaves directly into your food processor.

IMG 6930Next, add the walnuts…

IMG 6934And asiago. (Parmigiano would obviously be the more traditional choice here, but I like to change things up now and then.)

IMG 6937Next, add a couple of whole raw garlic cloves.  Just be warned that the finished result is quite garlicky. If you prefer a more subtle garlic flavour, I suggest just adding one.

IMG 6938Next, give your fresh basil a good whiff…

IMG 6941And then add it to the food processor.

IMG 6942Grind in just a touch of sea salt.

IMG 6946And add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

IMG 6947Give everything a couple of pulses first, then turn it on while slowly drizzling the olive oil in.  Blend until your desired consistency is reached. We made ours quite smooth this time around, but slightly chunky is just as good.

IMG 6952Next, take a little spoonful and let your toddler dip her finger in.

IMG 6953When you receive enthusiastic nods of approval and shouts for “More!”, you know you’re done.

IMG 6956Transfer into a mason jar for storage in the fridge, or use immediately for lunch (in this case, a warm orzo salad with spinach pesto, roasted red peppers, and toasted pine nuts).

Homemade Spinach Walnut Asiago Pesto

  • 3 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of asiago cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup of raw walnuts
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil

Place all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor and pulse a couple of times.  Turn food processor on and drizzle in olive oil as the mixture blends. Stop the food processor when the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Transfer into a mason jar and store in the fridge or use immediately on pizza, pasta, crackers, or bread.


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