Don’t you love pesto like I do? You could have it on toast, pastas, pizzas, paninis and what not. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I love making a lot of variations to it. You can always mix the leafy vegetable you make it with and the nut as well.
Here’s a list of variations I make:
- Basil – pine nut : the classic!
- Rocket – Sunflower seed: a lovely twist to the classic
- Cilantro – pumpkin seed : Especially when I am fasting
- Spinach – walnut : for a super healthy version
- Avocado – cashew : the vegan delight
And you can obviously mix and match to come up with more variations too.
This one is my Spinach-walnut version. I blanched the spinach leaves because my husband is not a fan of the raw spinach taste, though I don’t mind it.
PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 20 minutes
DIFFICULTY SCALE: Medium
For the pesto sauce:
- Spinach leaves – 1/3 cup
- Basil leaves – 10
- Walnuts – 7-8 pieces
- Garlic -2 cloves
- Olive oil – a generous drizzle
- Milk – ½ cup, use coconut milk for a vegan version
- Lemon juice – ½ lemon
- Salt – to taste
For the pasta:
- Pasta – 200 gm
- Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
- Pesto sauce – 2-3 spoons
- Pasta water – ½ cup
- Tomatoes – 1, small
- Olive Oil – for sautéing
- Salt – to taste
- Place a pan of water to boil. Once it’s boiled, add some oil and salt to it. Add the pasta to it and allow it to simmer for 10-12 minutes until it’s al-dente (meaning to taste as per your liking).
- Blanch the spinach leaves by first adding them in hot boiling water for a minute and then immediately transferring them in a bowl of ice cubes/cold water. This ensures that the Spinach retains colour and freshness.
- Add walnuts and garlic cloves in a blender and grind into a fine powder-y consistency.
- Add these blanched spinach leaves, basil leaves, lemon juice, olive oil and salt in a blender and mix well.
- Add milk and grind until smooth.
- Drain the excess water from the pasta. Preserve some water though.
- In a skillet, add some olive oil and finely chopped onion and cook it till it turns translucent.
- Add the pesto and the boiled pasta to it.
- Add some pasta water and mix with light hands.
- Add some tomatoes and serve hot.
Use a vegan pasta and add coconut milk for a vegan version. Love pesto pasta? Then you must try this Basil pesto pasta recipe too.