{Recipe} Three Things You Never Thought to Put in Pesto

I’m just going to have a husband-brag-session for a moment.  I know, I know. SO lame of me. I read those gushy blogs about people’s soul mates and I throw up, too.  But for the point of this blog post about pesto, I need to preface it with why my man is so great. You’ll understand in a second…

So Tim is probably the most self-sufficient guy I’ve ever known but yet he sincerely appreciates the things I do for him. Although cooking, cleaning and running a household can be tedious, thankless jobs, he isn’t shy about telling me how much he values my work. And seeing how “Words of Affirmation” is my primary love language, I’m lucky to have a guy that acknowledges the weight of his words.

Always quick to compliment me on my cooking and baking, after 10+ years of marriage Tim knows that even when something isn’t quite right, it’s probably best to just keep it to himself! Yes, I’m one lucky girl.

But in all fairness, there are a few conditions to Tim’s general laid-back attitude with my cooking:

1. Thou shalt never possess a single lima bean.
2. Thou shalt use pepper liberally.
3. Thou shalt never, ever, use store-bought pesto.

And that’s about it.

So when I found a recipe for a healthier take on pesto using ingredients I had never thought to use before, I just had to try it.

Say hello to spinach, feta and cashews in your pesto. I’m telling you — it works. It works amazingly. You may never make pesto the same way again. Not only is it cheaper (goodbye snobby pine nuts!) but the spinach doesn’t compete with the cheese quite like basil does. This translates into more flavor for less caloric input (since low-fat feta replaces your traditional parmesan).

I love this cookbook because it's recipes are health-focused and delicious. But I love it even more for having glossy, full-page color photos for every recipe. Photos just like this one! Photo Credit: Jason Grenci

{Spinach, Feta and Cashew Pesto}
from Gourmet Nutrition: The Cookbook for the Fit Food Lover

Pair with: vegetables, chicken, seafood or beef

3 cups fresh baby spinach (or 1/2 cup frozen)
1/4 cup low-fat feta cheese
1/4 cup cashews
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch pepper

Saute the spinach over medium heat just until wilted. If using frozen spinach, defrost and squeeze out all the water before measuring volume.

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until a grainy paste is formed. If more liquid is required, add another tablespoon of olive oil and lemon juice.

Yield: 9 tbsp

Stay tuned for my favorite way to use this healthy pesto! My vegetarian recipe for {Mushroom Pesto Stacks} is coming up next and it will knock the socks right off of your favorite carnivore’s taste buds. I promise. This recipe will make them a believer.

What’s your favorite use for pesto? I’ve got a batch in my fridge so leave me a comment with a link to your recipe!

Domestically Yours,
Natasha Kay

6 thoughts on “{Recipe} Three Things You Never Thought to Put in Pesto

  1. Erin Philps says:

    So this summer Graham grew arugula…our favorite salad green. Well, we had way more than we could use. So, he suggested I try making pesto with it…and yes, it was fabulous.

    For my friend Tim…if you have tried Golda’s pesto, you might just re-think the whole “no store bought pesto” rule….it’s good enough to eat on it’s own and nothing I have ever tried has compared with it besides fresh homemade pesto…that’s saying something!

  2. Michaela. says:

    I agree with TIm, store bought pesto is terrible! Unfortunately, basil can be hard to find, so I like the sounds of this recipe! My guilty pleasure is rice pasta mixed with lots of pesto and fresh cherry tomatoes & lots of cheese because it’s simple and for some reason, indulgent!

  3. Charis says:

    This looks amazing! I LOVE pesto, but don’t eat it all that often cause it’s so calorie heavy. I will totally be making this!

  4. Monica says:

    My daughter absolutely loves pesto. I am guilty of buying her store pesto until I learned how to make it on my own. Because we are vegan I had to research pestos that do not contain cheese. I also do not consume oil so we omitted the olive oil in this recipe and used veggie broth instead. I also used nutritional yeast instead of pine nuts since my daughter does not like nuts in her food. It turned out amazing and we like to use it on salad or in sandwhichs.


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