Spinach Walnut Pesto

February’s issue of the Food Network magazine came with an insert entitled, “50 Things to Make with Pesto.” As a huge fan, I am always looking for new ways to use pesto. This week I have experimented with pesto, making a pesto roasted chicken, pesto roasted tomatoes, and more pesto paninis. Despite green things getting stuck in my teeth, it has been pesto-licious! One thing, however, that annoys me about making pesto at home is the expense. Pine nuts are $8 for a tiny container, and getting enough basil, olive oil and Parmesan makes the cost add up. It’s cheaper to just buy ready-made pesto, but something about buying pesto in a jar bothers me. In search of a less expensive pesto, I was pleasantly surprised by this spinach walnut version. Using spinach and walnuts helped me justify making homemade pesto. It was perfect topped over grilled chicken breasts and roasted vegetables, but for more ideas check out this link.

2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Combine the spinach, walnuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse. Transfer the spinach mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

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