I have been trying to stay away from butter for some time now. Most of this time I can get away with it, once in awhile, I cannot. However, avocado spread on gluten free toast or a brown rice cake is more satisfying than regular toast with butter. I have never liked mayo or sour cream, not really a bad thing, but I am always on the hunt for a healthy dressing, spread or sauce without all of this. A few years ago at work one night, I ordered a salad and couldn’t decide what to do for dressing, since there wasn’t much in the way of non-creamy ones…all of a sudden the pesto popped into my mind!!! It was all healthy fat, so why not! I thinned it out with extra lemon juice and it turned the salad into something amazing!!! I remembered my parents took my 5 yr old, probably 2 at the time, out to an Italian restaurant and she asked to try my Dad’s “green spaghetti”. She loved it!!! So, the green spaghetti became a common favorite in our household!
When I began my up and down journey with living a Paleo lifestyle I decided to try making pesto without the Parmesan cheese and to boost the nutritional value by adding extras…it ended up turning out so good so I tried to remember what I did and jotted it down. That first night we made Paleo sweet potato gnocchi and tossed them in the pesto. It was ridiculous…even Chef was impressed, especially because he thinks that anything Paleo couldn’t taste good. lol
Pesto is such a versatile sauce. The traditional pesto includes olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and a ton of fresh basil. Super simple and delicious! But I swapped out walnuts for the pine nuts, because they are way less expensive and add an incredible amount of omegas, and then I added spinach and arugula to boost the greens in it! I actually really want to put kale in it next time! Everyone has a personal preference about amount of salt, garlic, chunkiness, and the consistency of a sauce is, so feel free to increase or decrease anything!!! But here is the base…
Extra Green Paleo Pesto
1-2 very large bunch of basil
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful or arugula
1 c toasted walnuts
1 lemon zested and juiced
2 cloves of garlic
red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Pulse all ingredients in blender or food processor until incorporated. Stream in olive oil until desired consistency is achieved – approximately 1 c.
I love to make a huge batch and freeze the extra. I put it on everything. My new favorite is to mix it into a can of tuna 🙂 For a really special treat, I will put it on a brown rice cake and melt one lite babybel on top for a healthy new spin on my favorite growing up – the tuna melt.