A few weeks ago you may have tried my kale carrot smoothie. Although kale seems to have bumped aside spinach–a one-time kitchen staple–both leafy greens are nutrition power houses.* This versatile spinach sauce is a super-healthy twist on classic Italian pesto. It comes together in minutes–literally. Seasoned rice vinegar adds tang and keeps the greens bright. Warmed up, the sauce is delicious drizzled over seafood or tossed with hot-cooked pasta. If you like it as much as I do, triple the recipe and use it for vegetable lasagna with butternut squash, or zucchini during summer. And if you’re pinched for time, use pre-washed bagged spinach from the grocery store; there are plenty of organic options available.
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Fresh Basil Spinach Sauce
Prep time 10 minutes Makes 2 cups
6 oz. fresh spinach leaves (6-7 cups lightly packed)
1 large green onion
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup coarsely chopped basil (about 12 large leaves)
1/2 cup tangy grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 Tbsp. Nakano seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Coarsely chop spinach and green onion. Place in a large microwaveable bowl; add peas and water. Cover and microwave on high 1-2 minutes or until wilted; transfer to blender container. Add basil, cheese, rice vinegar and olive oil. Cover and blend on low speed to start then increase to medium for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
– No need to chop anything if you use a food processor rather than a blender.
– To double or triple recipe, prepare vegetables then microwave and blend in batches.
– Forgot to thaw the peas? Just add them to the 1/2 cup water and microwave until warm; pour over spinach and onion. Cover and microwave until spinach is wilted, 1-2 minutes.
* Scroll down the article a bit to see nutritionals for kale and spinach.
Nutrition Information per 1/4 cup (no salt or pepper): 80 calories, 4g protein, 4g carb, 5g fat, (1.5g sat. fat), 5mg chol, 180mg sodium, 1g fiber
Recipe and photo by Rita Held