As the weather gets warmer (kind of), our palates crave something a little springier. Something lighter. Something that let's us know that it's APRIL and IT WILL BE SO NICE OUT SOON (hopefully).
That something is Springy Pesto.
Lacking the nuts/pine-nuts that give regular basil pesto the kind of earthiness that cries out for a bowl of steaming whole wheat linguine to mix it into. This is pesto's sassier, younger sister. Lemon = sassy, no?
And it's very easy.
And it's incredibly versatile. Brush it on some vegetables and throw them on the grill. Spread it on a sandwich. Use it as a dip. Go Nuts (or Nut-less, as it were).
So here we go
(Sassy) Spring Pesto
3 cups of nice leafy spinach
1 cup basil
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup vinaigrette (made from equal parts olive oil, champagne or white wine vinegar, and lemon juice)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
The directions are wicked complicated. Put the leafs and garlic in the food processor/blender and pulse until super finely chopped. (about 30 seconds). Drizzle in vinaigrette while pulsing. Stir in cheese.
Look how green that is! How can you not think of spring when you see it?
Of course you can be as creative as you want with this. More spinach and less basil or vice versa. Use whatever vinegar you have on hand. Maybe bump up the lemon or garlic. Whatever your thing is!
My favorite thing to do with this pesto, besides bathe in it if I had enough, is to make Shrimp Quesadillas. The perfect quick and healthy dinner. It's like a cool kid sandwich.
You will need (per person)
1.5-2 oz medium shrimp, deveined and de-tailed (I use the bags of shrimp you can get in the frozen seafood section of the supermarket!)
2 tbsp Spring Pesto
1 8-inch whole wheat tortilla
1 oz drained and chopped artichoke hearts (from a jar)
a sprinkling of feta cheese, crumbled.
Again, this is very complicated:
Take your tortilla and spread the pesto on it, then layer the shrimp over half of it.
Then the artichoke hearts.
Then the feta.
Then fold over and George Foreman grill it for about 2 minutes, until heated through.
Serve with salad on the side (I did a Spinach + black olive + feta salad with some white wine vinegar drizzled over it)
Is that a classy little dinner or what?
Made even more classy by my latest wine-related find: Big House White in little bottles!
And by my choice of dinner time TV-watching.