Spinach & walnut pesto

Spinach & walnut pesto

Spinach & walnut pesto tossed through spaghetti
Green for days: spinach & walnut pesto with spaghetti, olives and torn basil leaves

I am so impressed with this pesto! It came about because we currently have a glut of wholewheat spaghetti (I’m not complaining) and had gleaned some lovely young kale from Clapham Common Bandstand Beds (check out more on my growing fun here). What would be just the ticket to bring it all together? Of course. This is pesto but not as you know it: there’s no hard Italian cheese (apologies, pesto purists but there was some cheddar chilling in the fridge) and I’ve substituted walnuts for pine nuts just because. Okay, yes, because they were in the cupboard whilst pine nuts were not. The resulting pesto is delicious and really speedy to make. Hup to!

I served the pesto as pictured, mixed with a drop of pasta cooking water and then tossed through a mound of spaghetti with some frozen peas and broad beans, and a few olives for good measure. It was very green and very delicious and I thoroughly recommend it.

Ingredients – serves 2 with spaghetti with a bit left for the fridge

  • 150g spinach*
  • 50ml olive oil
  • Half a garlic clove
  • 80g basil
  • 100g organic mature cheddar – grated
  • 50g broken walnuts
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Pepper to taste

*Ideally perpetual spinach if you’re out of true spinach season (July-October).

Spinach & walnut pesto tossed through spaghetti
Spinach & walnut pesto tossed through spaghetti

Method

  1. Blitz the spinach and oil in a food processor or with a stick blender. If you need a little more oil than the stated 50ml to loosen up the spinach, add a splash extra.
  2. Drop in the garlic, basil, cheese, walnuts and lemon juice and blitz again until smoothish. Depending on your preferred consistency, you might want to blend the pesto for a little longer or not.
  3. Taste it and add a good grind of black pepper as well as more of anything you think is a little lacking.

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