Wednesday, March 28, 2012

artichoke & spinach pesto

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this is the time of year in which i start to get antsy.
antsy for just picked greens from the garden, local asparagus and all things spring.
i day dream everyday about riding my pretend bike with the cute basket on the back to the farmers market and wandering through the garden barefoot searching for the first string of peas to appear.

i crave green, fresh and bright. this was the best i could come up with this weekend while hunkered down in the house listening to the rain beat off the windows and 40mph winds...so much for the quick taste of summer we enjoyed last week - father winter wasn't so quick to leave us just yet.

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freshly steamed artichokes are combined with spinach, lemon juice, pine nuts, fresh garlic and a bit of pink salt along with a healthy dose of extra virgin olive oil.
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i recently was told by a friend of mine, a lover of artichokes and a round about foodie in general, that the frost kissed artichokes tend be sweeter and all around better. i think he may be onto something - these artichokes were pretty tasty. if you aren't familiar with how to prep an artichoke, check out this great tutorial from bon appetite
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the steamed artichoke hearts are blended into a wonderful and very versatile pesto along with baby spinach. certainly if you would rather use jarred artichoke hearts feel free.

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the bright flavors of this pesto is exactly what i needed - raw flax seed crackers topped with the pesto and a few slices of cherry or grape tomatoes make for a perfect afternoon bite.
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pesto freezes well - if you don't plan on using the full batch within a week or two freeze make sure to some for later.

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this week i have been adding pesto to most anything - my favorite so far has been a quinoa bowl mixed with this pesto, deeply browned button mushrooms, wilted baby spinach , whole grape tomatoes topped with a sprinkling of pine nuts
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this week it will also find its way into pasta and on top of pizza

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what are your favorite ways to enjoy pesto?
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Artichoke Spinach Pesto
makes 1 1/2 cups
 
you will need:
2 artichoke hearts (fresh or jarred)
2 cups baby spinach
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 tsp pink salt (or kosher)
 
 
assembly:
prep and steam your artichokes - remove the hearts
in a food processor blend artichoke hearts (fresh or jarred), baby spinach, juice of 1 lemon, salt, peeled fresh garlic cloves & pine nuts - pulse until well combined
 
begin adding a stream of olive oil through the top of the processor, continue to process while the olive oil is being added. continue adding enough olive oil until desired consistency is reached - it should be on the creamy side, but not too oily
 
store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge 
or freeze in smaller portions for  later use
 
enjoy!
 
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28 comments:

  1. I've never made my own pesto- isn't that sad? I also didn't realize that I could make a big ol' batch and freeze some, and now that I know that it sounds like an even better idea. I'm gonna do it, and I'm definitely starting with your recipe!

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    1. Now's your chance Barb!

      Pesto is so easy and tasty - I love adding a frozen cube to my rice or quinoa water and soups :)

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  2. I had no idea I could put my pesto in the freezer. I am glad to know that now:) your pesto sounds amazing and looks amazing too:) I am also daydreaming of riding my bike right now..! It's still to cold around here. Again, your pictures are so beautiful !

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    1. YES! Pesto in the freezer is the greatest thing ever, it is always my go to stand by for extra flavor to rice and soups, and let's not forget pasta - it freezes beautifully; the perfect way to save in season flavor :)

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  3. I Love pesto and tomatoes together ;) great recipe ;)
    ps. we are big Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes people ;D xo

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    1. Pancakes on Sunday Morning is the best!

      I love your blog btw - just became a fan on Facebbok :)

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  4. i loveeee pesto! this version looks amazing! artichokes just started showing up in the grocery store- time for me to get to work!

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    1. I love when seasonal produce starts popping up - I love this time of year!

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  5. Ooooh, looks so good! I like how bright and springy it is!

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    1. It kinda tastes like spring too! I have been loving having a batch of this in my fridge all week, I can't get enough of it!

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  6. Mmm - love pesto! Have never tried artichokes in it, though, that's a great idea.

    I can't even begin to count my favorite ways to eat pesto. On bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, soup, as a sauce for a main-course, in a jar, on a spoon... I would eat it with a fox, I would eat it in a box! Haha!

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    1. Your comment made my day - you are so funny!

      Last night I stirred in a big ol' tablespoon with quinoa, millet, chopped fresh broccoli, sliced carrot and a vegan boullion cube simmer for 20 -25 minutes and drizzle with maple syrup and a bit of white pepper - all I can say is it was AMAZING!

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  7. Pasta of course...I love pesto on my pasta. This looks like a nice recipe to try. The colors are so attractive as well.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for the lovely comment!

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  8. i have never handled an artichoke before.. but i love it in dips.. this pesto sounds perfect on some pasta! yumm

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    1. Give it a try Richa, once you get the feel for it prepping and steaming fresh artichokes become super easy!

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  9. Your photos are beautiful! And this dish looks so vibrant and lovely, I'd never even considered using artichoke in a pesto before. I'll have to try this soon!!

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    1. Thank you Alana!

      Let me know how yours turns out :)

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  10. The pesto sounds delicious, Heather. Your photographs have such a warm and inviting feel to them.

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  11. This looks so good, and I love the idea of adding artichoke hearts to the mix. This just reminds me that it's been far too ling since I made fresh pesto...

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  12. What a delicious pesto! So different yet beautiful and tasty looking :D
    Great post!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. You are the best - thank you for always stopping by and putting a smile on my face :)

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  13. Yum! This looks great. We just launched the all new seasonalpotluck.com and March is artichoke month (winding down) I'd love if you'd link up this recipe http://bit.ly/zRfNjo April we're featuring Peas and Rhubarb, so if you have any recipes featuring those ingredients you'd like to share, please do! ps. beautiful photos!

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    1. Thanks for the invite to link up, what a great idea!

      I am looking forward to the April Potluck :)

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  14. I made this today with marinated artichokes and pistachios instead of pine nuts.........
    Heaven is a great place to be ......

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    1. ooooo loving the pistachios, I just bought a big bag for another recipe but will have to save some to try out in pesto- I bet it did taste like heaven!

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Thanks for stopping by - your comments make my day!