This particular pesto recipe is very special to me as it is the first recipe I ever developed from scratch. Soon after the OH and I arrived in South Africa, we became involved with a development project that was growing spinach in one of Johannesburg’s townships. This pesto was created as a way of extending the shelf life of some of that wonderful fresh spinach the community were producing.
You will find that this pesto is very different to your average commercial pesto. It’s altogether creamier and more subtle in taste with a little added texture from the walnuts. If you store the pesto in jars, topped with a thin layer of oil, it will be good for at least 3 weeks. The vibrant green colour does fade after a while though so for best results, eat within 7 days.
Spinach and Walnut Pesto
Makes about 400ml
- 100g spinach leaves (no stalks)
- 30g fresh basil
- 275ml canola or rapeseed oil (plus extra for the tops of jars)
- 100g walnuts
- 50g parmesan or similar hard cheese, finely grated
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and blanch the spinach and basil for 10 seconds. Transfer the leaves to a bowl of iced water. Once cool, drain and squeeze out as much water as possible.
2. Puree the spinach and basil with the remaining ingredients using a food processor or blender. You can make the pesto totally smooth or leave it a little chunky. Pour into jars and top with a thin layer of oil to prevent oxidation. Stored this way it will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks.