Parsley Pesto, Spiced Spinach

Hello!  This is my first entry in my new food blog! I spend a lot of my spare time reading about food online, in magazines and books, and watching cooking shows.  I have always wanted to start my own blog, but I’ve always been too afraid to actually do it.  I was inspired to take the plunge when my friend Dana started her own blog – thanks Dana!  You continue to inspire me all the time, even though we no longer see each other daily!

I will give more background information about myself as I continue, but as an introduction, I am a 22 year old woman living in Oakland, CA.  I have no professional training; I learned all my fundamental knowledge about baking and cooking by watching and helping my mom in the kitchen when I was little. I continue to learn daily from friends, family, restaurants, etc.

I grew up being a very, very picky eater.  As I grew older, my taste buds matured and I now have a great love for food.  I am not nearly as picky about food these days, but I can be particular about how my food is prepared.  Now I love to at least try most types of food (excluding all seafood and anything containing mayonnaise) and if I eat something I like, I try to figure out how to make it myself.

My goals for this blog are to:

a. add new and genuine insight, recipes, and content to the “blogosphere”

b. inspire others to try new recipes

c. practice writing

d. have fun!

On to the food!

Recently, my boyfriend Mike and I had a nice weeknight meal together.  He’d been wanting me to try a vegan pesto recipe for some time now, and since he had bought the ingredients a week prior, it was time!  He was eating a strict vegan diet for 3 months, but just recently stopped for a little bit. Even though I’m not always a fan of everything vegan, this pesto turned out to be DELICIOUS.  I have a tried-and-true traditional basil pesto recipe from my mom that I will share another time, but this one is a great option if you are vegan or want something a little lighter, since the only fat is nuts and a little bit of oil.  Here is the recipe, from Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen:

Parsley Pesto

Ingredients

-1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
-4 cups packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
-2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
-3/4 cup olive oil
-sea salt

Instructions

1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, grind the walnuts.

2. Add the parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and lemon zest and purée.  Slowly add the oil and process until smooth. Blend in 1 teaspoon of salt, and add more to taste if necessary.

Note: To keep things more healthy, I start with way less oil than called for.  You can usually get away with using only half of the recommended amount.

This pesto is fabulous!  I thought I would miss the basil and hate the parsley, but this was not the case.  Combined with the toasted walnuts, it had such a fresh, herbal flavor.  I can’t wait to make it again!

We had the pesto with pasta served on a bed of this spinach dish, slightly adapted due to a lack of certain ingredients.  But that’s the beauty of vegetable dishes like this one – you can adapt them as needed!  Mike and I thought that because we didn’t have coconut, macadamia nuts might remind us of coconut.  It did go nicely with the dish, but I would not recommend that substitution with this pesto, because it ended up being a little too nutty for our tummies.

Here is my phone camera photo (notice home-grown basil leaf garnish!):

Pasta on Spinach with Parsley Pesto

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That’s all for now!  Any suggestions for a better blog title would be much appreciated.  🙂

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