Beginning in spring and well into summer, many different kinds of pesto recipes are featured throughout the food world. I’ve never been a fan of pestos. While I love the (typically) bright emerald green colors, I’ve always found them too heavy, too garlic-y, too something. Yet, the idea of grinding a vegetable or herb, fat(s), salt, and acid together producing a sauce is very appealing.
So, I came up with this spinach and walnut sauce that I’ll stir into brown rice and garbanzo beans this evening. Served over a bed of wilted spinach with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, the unpesto pesto looks pretty good.
Pestos can be enjoyed on pasta or rice. They can be stirred into egg dishes, or spread onto a sandwich.
Spinach and Walnut Sauce
Cook’s Notes: I found the garlic packs just enough punch. The lemon juice, while perceptible, is not overpowering, and the walnuts are a good amount of fat. To make this into a more traditional pesto, add extra virgin olive oil to taste and desired consistency.
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1/4 t. salt (scant) + more to taste
- 1/3 c. walnuts (heaping)
- 2 c. tightly packed baby spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry, stems removed
- 1/4 c. parsley, rinsed and patted dry
- juice of 1/2 lemon
All of these ingredients can be processed in a food processor. Or, if grinding by hand in a mortar and pestle, begin mashing the garlic, salt, and walnuts together. Once finely ground, add the spinach and parsley a handful at a time along with the lemon juice. Work in a circular motion with the mortar until desired consistency. Taste and adjust for salt. Yield: 1/2 c.