You wouldn’t think it from the limited selection available at supermarkets, but pesto is an incredibly versatile sauce. A quick internet search reveals just how much variety there is out there, beyond the traditional Genoese basil flavour. My advice is to go with the seasons when it comes to pesto – basil isn’t always the best choice. For instance, there’s a definite autumnal feel about this Spinach, Feta and Walnut Pesto – very comforting indeed.
Though we have drifted through to the very tail end of the spinach and walnut seasons, it is likely that many of you still have some wonderfully delicious leaves and nuts ready and raring to be put to good use. In fact, unshelled walnuts are probably at their cheapest between December and February and though I’m using shelled walnuts in this recipe feel free to crack your own!
Though they can be eaten raw, walnuts are delicious toasted and tossed through all manner of dishes such as salads and slaw. Added to this, walnuts work particularly well in baking as a result of their pleasant, crunchy texture. Indeed, all things considered walnuts must be counted among my very favourite autumnal foods for their sheer versatility and flavour. I hope this recipe cements them as one of yours too.
Spinach, Feta and Walnut Pesto
• 100g spinach
• 70g feta cheese
• 60g walnuts
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• juice of half a lemon
• A pinch of salt
• A twist of black pepper
1. Break the walnuts up into smallish pieces and toast gently until browned. Using a food processor blend together the spinach, cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
2. Add 40g of the toasted walnut pieces to the pesto. If serving with pasta boil 80-120g per person, stirring through a generous tablespoon of pesto for each portion. Sprinkle with the remaining walnuts before serving.
Cost: Since herbs like basil tend to be relatively expensive, using spinach to make pesto is extremely cost-effective; a bag containing 200g should cost around £1. As such, making a batch of this Spinach, Feta and Walnut Pesto should set you back no more than around £1.50.