Two weeks ago, with all the fresh produce (kale, spinach, and basil) coming out of our garden, I decided that I should give paleo pesto a try. Pesto is basically fresh greens, nuts, oil, and cheese (if you can eat cheese) all blended together in your food processor or blender. The result is a fresh green spread that can go in sandwiches, wraps, pizzas, pasta salads, and even scrambled eggs if you’re truly brave.
My main reason for making pesto was that I wanted a really easy way to add some greens to my diet without having to make a salad. In college so far I’ve found it really hard to eat enough greens and not just come home from classes and eat whatever happens to be easiest and nearest at hand (aka potato chips). The solution: this paleo pesto. Usually I just spread it onto my afternoon sandwich that I eat while rushing between classes. Because the pesto is ready-made, it’s no extra trouble to add when I’m making my sandwich in the morning, and because the greens in pesto are so condensed, a little bit goes a long way.
A note on sandwiches: my daily sandwich generally includes gluten free bread found at the grocery store (so far WinCo has been cheapest), sliced cheese, roast beef or turkey, tomatoes, mayonnaise, pesto, and iceberg lettuce.
So, people, make pesto! It’s an easy and delicious way to get more greens! This recipe takes only 5-10 minutes to make anyway, so you really don’t have any excuses. If you’re going completely paleo, feel free to skip the feta…and include a bit less olive oil.
Note: If you’re planning on using this paleo pesto on sandwiches, as I prefer, add even less olive oil. Too much olive oil, and the pesto tends to run out of the sandwich a little bit. Not a good deal when you’re trying to keep everything neat and contained.
On to the recipe!
1 cup spinach, packed
2 cups fresh kale, packed
½ cup fresh basil or oregano, packed
½ cup fresh sunflower seeds or pine nuts
¼ cup grated parmesan or ½ cup feta cheese (if you prefer a completely paleo pesto, skip the cheese)
½ a clove garlic
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons salt (if you’re using salted sunflower seeds, only include ½ teaspoon salt—I learned the hard way that salted sunflower seeds can really overdo it!)
½ cup olive oil, plus more as needed. If preparing for sandwiches, start with ¼ cup olive oil.
Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Blend until ground to desired consistency (some prefer bigger leaves, others smaller). Add more olive oil as needed (do note that pesto will thicken slightly later on in refrigerator).
Pour into a jar or container. Store in refrigerator for up to 6 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Use your new pesto in scrambled eggs, pasta salads, any other salad you can think of, pizza, sandwiches, and more!
Hey, did you enjoy this paleo pesto? Give my gluten free mayonnaise a try for another easy homemade sandwich spread!