Friday, September 9, 2011

Spinach and Pine Nut Recipes

Three posts in one day?  Must be the raw food day I've been enjoying.  :-)

My mom requested some recipes from me, and I thought it might be easiest to post them here (I know some of my other friends love recipes, too).  I wish I could post pictures, but my camera's USB cord was recently deemed a chew toy by my dogs and I have yet to replace it.  Sorry.  :)

My mom and I were talking about real, whole foods and we got to talking about nuts and seeds. 

I mentioned how much I love pine nuts (they melt in your mouth, really).  She didn't know what to do with them.  I rattled off several things I do with them.  She wants the recipes.  

So, here are a few ...

Easiest Ever Spinach Pesto 

2 Cups Organic Baby Spinach Leaves, packed
1 Lemon (juice and zest)
1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts (buy them raw, toast them to bring out the flavor)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1/3 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Sea Salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
Freshly Ground Pepper

Put your pine nuts in a small dry pan on your stove and turn the heat on low to medium-low.  You just want to bring out their flavors, not burn them.  So, pay attention, if you can smell them, they're good.  Keep moving them around a bit to toast them up evenly.   Again, you're not looking to change their color, just bring out the flavor a bit.

In your food processor, with the S-blade, place the spinach, pine nuts, zest from one whole lemon and juice from 1/2 of the lemon (juice it over a small strainer so as to avoid dropping the seeds in or turn it upside down and catch them in your hand).  Begin to process and add EVOO as it is processing.  I don't have a set amount ... just whatever makes a good consistency and looks good, without becoming too greasy.  I'd guesstimate about 1/4 to 1/3 cup.  Scrape the sides and process some more, until it is well blended.  

In a separate bowl, scrape out the mixture you just processed (please use a spatula and don't waste all that yummy goodness on the sides), add the Parmesan (freshly grated tastes great, but is a bit annoying and time-consuming, so I won't tell anyone if you use store-bought grated Parmesan), sea salt and pepper.  Stir to combine and enjoy.

This is great tossed with whole wheat thin spaghetti (I've stretched it to feed my family of four and I've also served it to just my husband and I with really saucy pasta, so this would be 2 to 4 servings, depending on how much pesto you like), or you could go totally raw (except for that cheese) and eat it this way:

Place a thick slice of home-grown or farmer's market-bought (FRESH) tomato on your plate.  Top with pesto and freshly ground pepper.  Top with another tomato slice, more pesto and more pepper.  Surround it with torn Organic Romaine Lettuce Leaves and serve with a knife and fork.  Looks amazingly gourmet, tastes phenomenal, takes less than five minutes to make and will make you feel wonderful!

Quick Spinach, Avocado & Pine Nuts Salad

Organic Baby Spinach Leaves
Toasted Pine Nuts
Lemon Juice
Sea Salt

No measurements here.  This was just a favorite breakfast (or snack) of mine for a while.  Toast your pine nuts as listed above.  Place some spinach in a bowl, add some diced or sliced avocado, squeeze some lemon juice on top, sprinkle with sea salt and pine nuts.  ENJOY!

Pasta with Spinach, Tomatoes & Pine Nuts

4 servings of any short whole wheat pasta (penne, rotini, etc.)
1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts 
2 cloves of garlic, minced 
Red Pepper Flakes
1 Onion, chopped
1 can Organic Diced Tomatoes
Organic Baby Spinach, about 3 cups
1 tsp Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

Start your water to boil for the pasta (place a lid on the water to get it to a boil faster).  Cook pasta to al dente, according to directions.

Place your raw pine nuts in a dry pan on low to medium-low.  Toast the pine nuts as listed above.  

Mince your garlic.

In a deep skillet, add EVOO, a couple shakes of red pepper flakes (depends on your taste for heat) and minced garlic.  Turn heat to low and let the garlic and red pepper hang out in the oil as it warms gently.  This will release their flavors and sort of infuse the oil.

Chop your onion.

Add onion to the oil and turn the heat up a bit to saute the onion.  When it is sauteed, add in the can of tomatoes and stir.  Cook and stir and add in the spinach in handfuls.  Add sea salt and black pepper and stir to combine.  

Cook and stir just long enough to heat through and wilt your spinach.  

To serve, toss the spinach mixture with pasta and top with toasted pine nuts and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (leave out the parm if you're vegan).  


Hope you enjoy!  These are all SUPER EASY, use only a few of the same ingredients and are simply DELICIOUS!  


  1. Thanks sweetheart! They each sound yummy - and easy which is good for me too! I intend to try it this weekend....LOVE You! Mom

  2. I'm in LOVE! Tried the spinach, avacado & pine nuts salad last night and it was DELICIOUS!!!!


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