March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Whether eaten as a dip, a spread or a sauce, savory pesto is a culinary essential in many Italian recipes. This version features spinach and almonds (more economical than the traditional basil and pine nuts), yet as flavorful and nourishing as ever. Deliciously simple to prepare, spread spinach-almond pesto over crusty bread for an easy appetizer, toss with your favorite pasta for a light meal, or spoon it over grilled or broiled seafood or roasted chicken breast for a heartier meal.
8 ounces baby spinach leaves
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted*
1 shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor or blender jar, combine the spinach, almonds, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, lemon peel and red pepper flakes. Pulse lightly to blend. Gradually add the oil, blending until well-chopped and blended, but not puréed.
- Transfer the spinach-almond mixture to a medium bowl.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- *Toast the almonds in a small, heavy dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the skillet frequently for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown to release the flavorful oils.
Serving size: 2 tablespoons
Calories: 100; Calories from fat: 90; Total fat: 9g; Saturated fat: 1.5; Trans fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 60mg; Total carbohydrate: 4g; Dietary fiber: 2g; Sugars: 1g; Protein: 4g