Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad

I have a certain friend who is a fan of The Technicolor Kitchen, and he often shares with me his opinion and gives me his approval rating of the recipes. I call him The Canadian, for obvious reasons, but I originally did it because when I looked onto my phone to add him, I already had multiple friends by that name. So I saved myself the trouble and nicknamed him “Canadian” on my contacts. We’ll refer to him as such, to protect his identity.

Well back to my story, The Canadian, unfortunately is a vegetarian, I know, CRAZY!!! What kind of lifestyle is that?!?! No, I’m kidding! I completely respect his decision and understand him.  Since most of my entree recipes have had meat and/or pork in them, even my potato salad had bacon, so I’ve decided to post a couple of vegetarian recipes for him.

So here it is, a super easy Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad (say that five times fast:  Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad, Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad, Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad, Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad, Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad) that is loaded with flavor. In developing this recipe for him and the next one coming up, I asked him if he liked pesto, his response; “Love It.” Well there you have it, this recipe is Approved by The Canadian, can’t get any better than that.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A big bowl, stuffed with fresh baby spinach. Lots and lots of it.

A little handful of fresh basil. I know its a spinach pesto, but basil decided to crash the party. After all, he was the original in Pesto.

Some grated parmesan cheese. A classic pesto ingredient.

Toasted Walnuts. Originally pesto is made with pine nuts, but I find that the walnuts go well with spinach.

Garlic. Fresh garlic. Don’t buy into the grocery store “convenience” of getting the cloves all peeled or even worse when its chopped up. NO! NO! Fight the urge. Peel your own garlic, its fast and has better flavor.

Good ol’ extra virgin olive oil.

Kosher Salt.

Black Pepper.

And of course some pasta.

The first thing we want to do is fill up a pot with water.

Always start with cold water when bringing it up to a boil for pasta. Don’t try to take a shortcut with hot water thinking “Oh, if I just put hot water into the pot, it’ll boil faster!”

You know who you are. I’m on to you.

If you do that, the pasta doesn’t cook right. Trust me.

Put it over a medium-high heat. Place a lid on it (because a watched pot never boils) and let it come to a rolling boil. Not a simmer. Not a just starting to boil boil (Yes there should be two boils there, read it again. Aww….get it?) but an actual rolling boil.

While we wait. Lets start on our pesto.

Go to your food processor.

Put the spinach in it. You might think it wont fit, but it will.

You make it fit.

Stuff it.

Jam it in there, if you have to.

Place in the basil. Just the leaves.

Now add in two cloves of garlic.

The toasted walnuts.

Parmesan Cheese.

Salt.

And Pepper.

Put a lid on it and pulse it a couple of times, to break it down.

Chop.

Chop.

You want it to look really pasty and gritty.

Once it looks like…..Oh wait I think the water is boiling.

We’re multi-tasking. Season the water with salt.

Throw in the noodles.

Stir a couple times and let it cook until its tender. I like it a little chewy.

NOT mushy. Make sure you don’t over cook it. Its a cold salad, so it needs a little bite.

So back to the pesto, once it looks like its all chopped down, put the lid on it and this time turn the machine on “ON” not pulse.

While its running, stream in the olive oil.

When its creamy and smooth, it’s done. Taste for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.

Check on the pasta. The best way is to try one. Don’t reach in, grab it with a fork.

Once the noodles are tender, drain into a colander.

DO.

NOT.

POUR.

COLD.

WATER.

OVER.

THE.

FINISHED.

NOODLES.

DO.

YOU.

HEAR.

ME?

DON’T!!

You’re washing away all the nutrients and vitamins when you do that.

Yummy Yummy bow ties, you’ll be eaten soon.

Drain well, and place in a mixing bowl.

Pour some pesto over the noodles. It might be too much so gage it. Add a little first and mix. If you’re lucky, you might have some leftover for other stuff.

Add some parmesan cheese and mix.

Toss again, and you’re done. Place it in a nice bowl…or just grab a fork and park yourself in front of the bowl. You’ll want to eat it all.

If you have extra, which you should, because I made sure you did. You’re welcome!

Pour it into small tupperware.

Make sure you get all of it!!

Every last delicious bit!

Look how awesome it is. Smell it.

Its freshness consolidated into a great spread.

Put a lid on it tightly and place in the fridge for later in the week or in the freezer for later in the month.

Pesto is that simple and its great for any number of dishes. Make some ahead of time at the beginning of the week and store in pre-portioned containers.

Its great on things like sandwiches, paninis, as a salad dressing, with tomato and fresh mozzarella, noodles…..

The possibilities are endless.

I’m saving my little container above, for another recipe, coming up, that The Canadian will be sure to approve and love :)

In the meantime I hope you and he enjoy this one, it’s especially good cold!

 

Comments

  1. avatarStarlene Markwalder says

    This was a hit at my friend’s potluck going away party as well as my sister’s house too. I could seriously eat this by the spoonful before adding to the pasta salad. ;0) Yummmay!

  2. avatarJodie says

    PLUS, which is even worse! Rinsing the cooked noodles with cold water washes away all the starch from the noodles, and the result is: the pesto or whatever sauce you make can’t really hold on to the noodles. It makes a really weird texture. Just saying :D
    Anyways! I just stumbled upon your blog and I wish I had found it last week, because I made four different pestos last saturday for a party and I was looking for another green one that had a special twist but I didn’t find another one so I just a made a basic basil pesto. Now I find this. I would’ve totally skipped the basil pesto for it (sorry, basil…). But at least that gives me an excuse to make another pesto =)

  3. avatarnicole says

    Hi can I know how many gram or kg of the baby spinach I should put? My supermarket here sells 100gm in a box.

      • avatarnicole says

        Hi are we talking about making pesto or muffins? Lol :) I have used half of my 145g organic baby spinach. I managed to stuff all the ingredients into my blender but realised I forgot to put the cutter inside. :) I am very forgetful.. I added some more walnut as I like the fragrance and crunchiness it gives. My pesto taste so good! I can’t stop myself eating the spinach paste when I scooped them ou from the blender.

        Thanks again for your nice recipe and detailed pictures of step by step cooking demo. I woukd love to try out your recipe again very soon.

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