Last trip to Australia was a delightful one, especially because I got to taste all kinds of food. Also the fun part was getting introduced to this wonderful form of pasta sauce “PESTO”. Initially when I took the first bite, there was an explicit explosion of flavors on my taste buds. A perfect combination of flavors…and the fact that it is so earthy and healthy…is the additional icing!!
The traditional recipe that originated somewhere in Italy calls for basil leaves and pine nuts crushed with some Parmesan, garlic, olive oil salt and pepper in a food processor until you get a smooth and creamy sauce. Myself and DD love this version. Not only we get indulged with pesto pastas but we even enjoy the pleasure of pesto in salads and sandwiches!! The best part of it is that you don’t have to cook at all!:) The sauce and pasta are tossed together until everything is uniformly mixed through.
Although DD loves pesto, but it is quite taxing to feed her a fair portion of greens everyday on the dinner table as she literally hates greens….I know what a shame.:( So I thought of giving this a shot – preparing a pesto sauce using spinach, mint and coriander leaves. And to tell you the truth, it worked quite well for me. For this recipe, I used toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. Walnuts are healthy full of nutrition and they form an awesome combination with spinach.
I know a lot of people do not really find pesto quite appetizing…..fair enough as everything takes time. As a matter of fact it does taste a lot different from the conventional pasta sauces and it would definitely take some time for those taste buds that are not used to such flavors and aroma. But I can assure once you get the hang of it, you will never look back. Light and creamy pesto sauce will get you craving for an earthy experience every once in a while.
Pasta – 1 cup (Any kind of pasta will work)
Spinach leaves – 1 bunch (washed and drained)
Mint leaves – 1 small bunch
Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch
Spring onion greens – 1 small bunch
Garlic cloves – 1-2
Toasted Walnuts – 8-10
Parmesan cheese – 1 small cup (shredded)
Olive oil – 4 heaping tbsps
Lemon juice – juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt – as per taste
- Prepare the pasta according to package instructions. Put the pasta in a pot of boiling water, salt and some olive oil. Once done, drain.
2. Wash and drain the spinach leaves. Remove the stalks.
3. The process of preparing a pesto is usually done in a food processor. If you have a food processor that would be the best option. However since I do not have one, I used my multi-functional blender with a pulse button.
First take the garlic cloves, walnuts and spinach leaves. Pulse for 5-6 times just to kind of roughly break down and crush the spinach, walnuts and garlic. If it does not work, you may add 1-2 tbsp of water.
Then add the mint leaves, coriander leaves, spring onion greens, grated parmesan cheese, 4 tbsp olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. The olive oil will help in the blending process. Every time scrape down the sides of the jar and keep blending until you get a smooth creamy consistency of the pesto sauce.
Check the seasoning of the sauce. Adjust if you need more salt or lime juice.
4. Mix the sauce and pasta in a big mixing bowl. You can mix as much pesto as you want. Remaining pesto can be stored inside the fridge for approximately 1-2 weeks.
Drizzle some olive oil on top, garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts.
Serve spinach and mint pesto Penne for a one-pot hearty meal.