I love the flavors of a good pesto, and how it can transform a simple dish into something delicious. Unfortunately, finding a dairy-free option at the store can be tricky, and I don't always keep fresh basil on hand to make my own. There are a few great versions available at Whole Foods Market, if you're interested in buying one~ but it's actually really simple to make!
All you need is a food processor, and a few simple ingredients. Traditional pesto is done with fresh basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, but of course I switched things up to make it more convenient and Paleo-friendly.
First, I swapped the basil for spinach (because we always have spinach on hand & I actually love the flavor it gives). I then ditched the pine nuts, mainly because they're expensive and I don't feel like they're necessary. I used cashews instead~ they give that toasty "nutty" flavor, and also serve as a great replacement for the Parmesan cheese.
Just a couple minutes of prep time, and you've got the perfect pesto that you can use in so many ways! Spread it over chicken or fish for a burst of fresh flavor, or stir it into spaghetti squash as a "pasta sauce". I also love what pesto does to scrambled eggs~ just mix in a tablespoon or so after cooking!
Let me know if you give this a try, and tag me in your Instagram photos so I can see how you decide to use it!
- 3/4 cup packed spinach
- 3 Tbsp raw cashews
- 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- food processor
- Toast the cashews in a small, dry sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Place all of the ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Slowly incorporate the oil while the machine is running, until a smooth paste-like consistency forms. Continue blending to thin the sauce to your preference.
- Serve over meat, stirred into spaghetti squash, or mixed with scrambled eggs. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- If you want to make a traditional basil pesto, simply substitute fresh basil for the spinach.
- I prefer using a food processor, but you could also try using a blender.