The abundance of the garden is upon us, at least where the greens are concerned. We have lots of lettuces and spinach. From three seed packs, we have enough to feed our family and many more. I've been giving away bags to fellow moms in my son's preschool class, friends, and family. My favorite way to eat the lettuces is topped with cucumbers and tomatoes (definitely wishing those were in season now) and dressed with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and agave nectar. We're still perfecting our washing technique (Ashley has complained, rightly so, about the sandy and gritty salads we've had the past two nights). Tonight I dunked the leaves several times in a sinkful of water before using my salad spinner to whip away the remaining water.
Although lettuces are more limited to salads (unless you want to grill the greens), spinach is more versatile. Ashley made an omelet Sunday morning with spinach and cheese; I use it regularly for the boys' smoothies; and the spinach-stuffed chicken breasts I made a while back were yummy.
Of course, harvesting the spinach is favorite pastime of our younger son (sometimes he gets overly zealous in his plucking).
My by-far favorite way to use spinach right now is for Spinach-Basil Pesto. My boys LOVE pesto on their pasta (they'd rather have that as a topper than traditional marinara). They won't eat mac-n-cheese or mashed potatoes but they eat pesto. Go figure.
I adapted a Southern Living recipe for Basil Pesto to make one that is more nutritious. Enjoy!
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
4 cups loosely packed fresh spinach leaves
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 c pecans or pine nuts
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup cold water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
*Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Pesto lasts for a while in the refrigerator and freezes wonderfully.