Spinach. When London was a baby and starting to eat solids I used this book called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. This book was so informative not only in what to feed the babies and when but what nutrients are in the foods and how to form a complete vitamin/mineral/protein meal using just vegetables. In her book she described certain vegetables as super foods. These were vegetables that have so many vitamins packed into it that they, according to Yaron, make up a super food, a food we should try to eat as much as possible. To mention just a few important nutrients in spinach: Vitamins A,C,E, and K, some B vitamins, folate, folic acid, calcium and iron. Now remember these are just a few of the nutrients in spinach, there are more. So imagine eating one little spinach leaf and getting that many nutrients per leaf! I can see why she calls spinach a super food.
I mentioned before that I love pesto. Well sometimes you don't feel like spending the money, during the winter, on basil. It is expensive to buy enough to make a lot of pesto. My solution is Spinach pesto. This is a great alternative and very good for you. Instead of using all basil in your pesto you use spinach leaves and only three or four basil leaves. Here is the recipe:
2 cups packed fresh spinach
3-4 leaves basil
lemon zest, half a lemon
juice from half a lemon
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Combine the spinach through the parmesan into a food processor and pulse until chopped. Slowly add the olive oil while processing until smooth and creamy. Taste and then add salt and pepper to taste. Done!
Now this will still have a slight basil taste and so if you wanted to fool your family into thinking it was just a regular pesto you could. Because of the lemon it will be lemony and you won't have to add much salt if any. They won't even know that they are eating spinach unless you tell them. You can serve this as a pasta sauce, over fish, chicken or with veggies. Use it as you would pesto, except remember that it does have more lemon flavor than regular so pair it wisely. This is an excellent way of getting in a lot of spinach and all the super nutrients it has. We had this last night with pasta. I added to the pasta some garlic, asparagus, chicken and tomato. In my other blog about pesto my friend Shanda commented that she froze the excess pesto in ice cube trays to use later. This is a great idea and exactly how I made my baby food. You could do this as well with your spinach pesto. Enjoy!!