I love spinach. I love them raw, I love them steamed, I love them sautéed, I love them in soup, omelettes, sandwiches – I just love ’em.
I always have spinach in my fridge because that’s the only green veggie that everyone in my family eats, including my kids (I put spinach in their kway teow soup).
(Oh yes, my hubby doesn’t eat that much veggies except for spinach, lettuce and that’s pretty much it -____-).
Anyway, the other day, I ran out of ideas of what to cook for dinner so I googled “spinach chicken” and found this amazing grilled chicken with spinach pesto recipe by Giada de Laurentiis. I’ve had the usual basil pesto but never tried spinach pesto before, so I just had to give it a try.
The recipe didn’t use any garlic tho, but I decided to add a couple because the usual basil pesto recipe uses garlic, and because I think garlic makes dishes taste better, especially veggies. You can even add basil leaves to this spinach pesto if you like, for that herby flavour. The rest of the ingredients are pretty much the same like the usual basil pesto – pine nuts (or you can substitute with walnuts if you don’t have pine nuts), Parmesan cheese and olive oil.
Making pesto is reaaaally easy. Just toss everything in the blender (or a food processor, if you have one) and zap until creamy. No cooking involved, yay! Well, of course you need to cook the chicken but we’re talking about making pesto here.
Here’s the recipe, adapted from foodnetwork.com.
Grilled Chicken with Spinach Pesto:
2 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cups pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
Heat the grill pan on medium heat and lightly oil the pan. Grill the chicken until cooked on both sides (you can also bake the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes). Transfer to a plate and let cool.
In a blender, combine spinach, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and lemon peel and blend. With the blender running, gradually add olive oil until the mixture is creamy. Add salt and pulse lightly. Transfer the spinach mixture into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread the spinach pesto over the chicken breasts and serve.
And best part is, you can eat this pesto with anything! Pasta, sandwiches, burgers, chicken. I ate it with pasta the other day. Just stir a couple of tablespoons of pesto with cooked pasta in a pan over low heat and it’s ready to eat.
This has become my new favourite pasta sauce. Yum! Who needs store-bought sauce when you can make your own, right?