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Our grocery store has had big boxes of organic spinach on crazy sale for the past few weeks, so I’ve been buying one every week for smoothies and salads.  But more often than not, it’s more spinach than we can eat before it starts wilting.  So when it starts to go, I make pesto out of it.  The first time I tried it I was sure it would be terrible, but it was the only thing I could think to do other than throwing it away.  But it turned out tasting wonderful (terrible photographs notwithstanding, sorry!)– and John LOVES it.  It makes a good, less expensive alternative to regular pesto.

Spinach Pesto

1/2 c. olive oil

1/3 c. cashews, almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds (n.b. I have never made this with pine nuts because they’re too expensive, but I have made it with the other nuts listed, each with excellent results)

2-3 cloves garlic (the more the better, really)

1 t. salt

3-4 c. raw spinach (somewhat tightly pressed down)

1/3 c. parmesan cheese (optional– I’ve never made it with cheese, but it would, of course, be much better with it)

Pulse nuts in a food processor or blender until fine.  Add oil garlic, salt, and spinach (and cheese, if using) and pulse until smooth-ish.  (I have to add the spinach about one cup at a time in order for the blender to work.)   Serve over chickpeas or pasta or rice.  Would make a nice dressing for a cold pasta salad. Makes about 2 cups of pesto (I usually use about 1/2 per person, per serving, so if you’re just cooking for two, you can freeze half.)

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