I like fancy food. I just don’t have the skills (or patience) to make fancy foods! 😉 Pesto, to me, is a fancy food. Perhaps I am alone in this thinking, but I always think of pesto as a fancy item. And homemade pesto? Well, that requires skills….or so I thought.
I like pesto, but it isn’t a favorite of mine. Basil tends to be overwhelming, to me, when used in large amounts. So, when I found a recipe for spinach pesto, I was very excited. I LOVE spinach – in salads, in hot dishes, in cold dishes, in smoothies. There’s really no wrong way to use spinach, in my opinion!
Spinach pesto is made just like regular pesto but with all spinach and no basil. The result is a sweeter pesto but the same creamy consistency. The only hang up I had with the spinach pesto was the pine nuts. Aldi doesn’t carry them, and I don’t keep them on hand. Soooo, I had to get creative. I did not realize that sunflower seeds are a cheap and easy substitute!
So after making the yummy new pesto, the recipe said to use it on grilled cheese. Mmmm….cheese. The guy’s recipe said he used Gruyère but it did not melt that well. I decided to grab gouda and havarti. Whether or not those cheeses pair well, I have no idea. We have used them before and loved them on grilled cheese. Havarti is already soft, so it gets melty. And I am in love with gouda. We could really pair any two cheeses together and say they taste great – I am sure the Food Network chefs think we’re disgusting. Oh well!
I have two recipes, then, for today. One for spinach pesto. And one for grilled cheese (although, I am certain we all know how to make grilled cheese!).
2 cups spinach (packed down in measuring cup)
3/4 cups sunflower seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend til creamy. Feel free to change amounts of spinach or oil to adjust to your taste preference!
Spinach Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
1 loaf italian bread (i just grabbed one from the Meijer bakery), sliced
1 block gouda, sliced
1 block havarti, sliced
- Butter one side of every slice. Heat griddle to 325-350 degrees. Lay one slice, buttered side down, top with a tablespoon of pesto then both cheeses. Top with non-buttered side of another slice.
- Cook until face-down side is toasted. Flip over and toast other buttered side.
- Enjoy the yummy, gooey sandwich!
My kids all thought the green sauce in the sandwich was fun! And I got all thumbs up on the taste (which is surprising….usually one of them likes to be the oddball and say it is yucky)! And since Wednesday nights are busy around dinner time, I served the sandwiches with carrots and ranch and some grapes. Easy peasy, healthy dinner!
Do YOU like pesto? Have you ever tried spinach pesto??