Basil and Spinach Pesto | For Now or Later

Basil and Spinach Pesto  Freeze for Later

Since we arrived in Rwanda, I have been dying to make pesto from scratch to have on hand for pasta. With all the basil you get at once from the market, I thought this would be a perfect way to use it all before it goes bad. I splurged for pine nuts at the local supermarket full of excitement to make pesto…only to remember when I got home that our food processor was still making its way to us in our household effects shipment. So, several weeks later, my excitement has only increased and my desire to make my own pesto has finally been satisfied!

After several days straight of unpacking following the arrival of our stuff, it was a wanted and necessary break to spend time in the kitchen creating something delicious to share with you all. It was just what I needed at the end of a long day trying to organize and decorate our home in Africa. A coaster I unpacked today accurately captured how I felt by the end of the day…my mood ring indicates Chardonnay! So with a glass of wine and my food processor, I blended up this bright sauce for a fresh tortellini dinner.

My mood ring indicates chardonnay


  • Knife and cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Small skillet pan
  • Food processor
  • Rubber spatula


  • 2 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 cup basil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup olive oil, divided


  • Heat skillet over medium heat and then add pine nuts. Toast nuts until they are just golden. Move frequently to prevent burning.
  • Add spinach, basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese to a food processor. Blend until all the ingredients start to combine. While the mixer is still on, add ¼ cup of olive oil at a time until blended well. Scrape the sides to make sure it all mixes together.
  • Use immediately or freeze in ice cube trays for later use.

{A Hint of Ginger | Garnish}: For tonight’s dinner, I added the basil and spinach pesto to a bowl of four cheese tortellini and topped with zucchini ribbons.

 To make the ribbons for yours as well:

  • Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Once hot, add zucchini ribbons, a dash of red wine vinegar, squeeze a little lemon juice left from making the pesto, and a pinch of both salt and pepper. Sauté for just a couple minutes until your ribbons are warmed. Add to your tortellini and sprinkle with more parmesan cheese. Bon Appétit!Tortellini with Basil and Spinach Pesto