Wednesday, September 18, 2013

From Plant to Pesto: Spinach Basil Pesto Revisited

Spinach Basil Pesto  |  Delicious as it Looks

I was meaning to write this blog a couple of months ago, but like I said in my previous post, this has been an incredibly busy summer! I would have liked to revisit my pesto recipe with you when basil was in its prime, but now it's a little past that, although my plant is still going strong. Thanks to my husband. He's the plant whisperer. I'm the plant killer. I talked my husband into taking care of my herbs this summer and they have flourished! I planted Italian parsley, thyme and basil. Here's a photo of them a couple of months ago when they were full and lush:

My Growing Herbs  |  Delicious as it Looks

I guess it's better late than never for pesto. After many years of making this pesto recipe, it's still a staple in our house. It's a great alternative to tomato sauce, for people who can't eat tomatoes. Plus, it's really easy to make. Just throw all the ingredients a food processor and give it a whirl.

Spinach Basil Pesto  |  Delicious as it Looks

I thought I would update the recipe to be truly low-FODMAP. Before, I had the garlic as an optional ingredient, but I wanted to still include the garlic flavor. My answer: roasted garlic oil! I actually like the pesto better with the garlic oil, it's a little more mellow and not as pungent. I made a few more tweaks to the recipe and I love the resulting recipe.

Spinach Basil Pesto  |  Delicious as it Looks

I like to freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray. Once the cubes are frozen, just transfer them to a plastic freezer bag. They are ready and waiting for use! I love mixing a little pesto with some gluten-free pasta and some tolerable veggies and sauteed chicken. A quick and easy dinner (or lunch sometimes!).  I usually use one cube per one (2 oz.) serving of gluten-free pasta.

Spinach Basil Pesto  |  Delicious as it Looks

Spinach Basil Pesto
makes about 1 cup pesto or 12-14 cubes


1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or 1/4 cup toasted hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup Quick Garlic Oil, Oven-Roasted Garlic Oil or extra virgin olive oil*

  1. Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.
  2. Divide pesto evenly in an ice cube tray. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. Once pesto is frozen, remove from tray and store in a heavy-duty freezer storage bag and use as needed.    
*Update 03/14/17: I've been using Garlic-Infused Oil from FODY Foods in this recipe lately and it works great! Since the Nicer Foods Garlic Oil is so much more potent than homemade, I only use 1 tablespoon in this recipe. Simply add 1 tablespoon Nicer Foods Garlic Oil to a measuring cup, then fill with plain olive oil the rest of the way to the 1/2-cup mark.

Low-FODMAP Spinach Basil Pesto  /  Delicious as it LooksLow-FODMAP Spinach Basil Pesto  /  Delicious as it Looks

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of FODY Foods, which means that if you click on any of the links and purchase the product, I receive an affiliate commission. However, please note that I only recommend products that I myself enjoy, am excited about, and that I feel provide value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Adverstising."


  1. Just made this! So easy and incredibly delicious!!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It’s the little changes which will make the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!
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  3. What are sunflower nuts? I'm aware of sunflower seeds but not nuts unless they're the same thing. Plus, pine nuts are extremely expensive.

    1. Sunflower nuts are basically hulled sunflower seeds. I guess technically they are not a nut, but I wanted to make the distinction that they are are the inside part of the seed. I'll update the recipe to make it clearer. Sorry about any confusion!