I’m pretty sure the first time I ate pesto was at the Cheesecake Factory, splitting two dishes with my best friend Tania. It’s grown on me since; Buitoni pesto and tortellini used to be a staple in my fresh-out-of-college dinner repertoire. Since I’ve been on a kick of re-making dairy-full dishes dairy-free (see: creamed spinach and ricotta), I wanted to try an alternative pesto – dairy free and without basil (just not a huge fan of it). There are lots of great recipes using spinach, kale or arugula as the base, I ended up doing a Spinach version, only slightly tweaked from this recipe from Whitney Bond to make it dairy free, a smaller portion and slightly less garlic-y.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups of spinach, ripped as you throw into blender (have a little extra on hand in case you need to balance flavor)
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup cashews (mine were roasted, unsalted)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt to taste (start with a quarter teaspoon then taste)
- In a blender, start blending spinach, garlic and cashews; since there’s no liquid, you may need to stop here and there and re-mix, re-pulse, re-mix, re-pulse
- Once it gets broken down a bit, add salt and olive oil and blend until smooth or a texture that you like
- I was a little heavy handed on my salt, so added another handful of spinach and blended to even out the flavor
This made a pretty small bowl pesto, but it’s powerful. I think I’ll get two servings out of it and plan to mix it with some zoodles for a lunch. Would also be a great spread on a sandwich, on top of grilled chicken, or I was even just dipping a spoon in it and eating it that way (adult dunkaroos?).