This recipe is inspired by something we make at Woodford, a spinach pesto that offers a vegan alternative for our interested customers. I absolutely love it and made sure I memorized the recipe in a hurry, though admittedly it is more of a technique than a recipe, as I have made numerous variations to the original below. The biggest difference between this pesto and a store-bought one is this one lacks the traditional Parmesan cheese, thus also lacks the fatty and caloric punch that most pestos pack. No need for your diet to fear this recipe, it is completely waistline friendly.
|Isn't this beautiful vibrant green striking?!|
|Spinach pesto chicken, sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, and a little extra spinach sandwich.|
Vegan Spinach Pesto
1 pound fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup garlic confit (recipe to follow)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup garlic oil (recipe to follow)
2 cups soft, fresh bread crumbs, soaked in vegetable stock (bonus points if they are whole wheat crumbs)
Blanch spinach in boiling water for one minute, remove to ice bath to stop to cooking process. Wring out all the water and add to the bowl of a blender or food processor. Add garlic cloves, red pepper, salt, and pepper. Pulse to incorporate. Drizzle in half the garlic oil while pulsing, then add bread crumbs, then add remaining oil. Continue to pulse until smooth and creamy. Adjust for seasoning.
2 cups garlic cloves, papers removed
2 cups olive or canola oil (or enough to cover cloves)
Place garlic cloves and oil in a deep baking dish, making sure garlic cloves are covered with the oil. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until garlic cloves are soft and fragrant. Store cloves in oil and vuala! You have garlic confit AND garlic oil.
** If you would like to double, triple, quad this recipe, go ahead! Garlic confit keeps in the fridge for weeks and can be added to soups and stews for a cooked-all-day flavor, smeared on toast points for an instant appetizer, and incorporated into marinades and salad dressings with ease.