Spicy Spinach Almond Pesto


Like Popeye, I’m strong to the finish because I eat all my spinach. 

It seems like only yesterday I signed up for the Austin Half Marathon feeling like I had months to prepare for my fourth 13.1 mile race. Time flew by and the race is next weekend. I have been training and eating like a champion, although there have been a few injuries and lazy days thrown in to the mix. Nevertheless, I am in it to cross the finish line win it and I am pumped up with lots of smack talk and even more greens.

Spicy Spinach Almond Pesto can be put together in a flash with cheap ingredients found at every super market. In order to pack in as much vitamin power as possible I used a pound of spinach which needs to be cooked and drained. I chose to use thawed frozen spinach to save a few steps.Choose a pasta that will hold the pesto close, like orecchiette or fusilli.

Spicy Spinach Almond Pesto
  

Time in kitchen: 20 minutes
Servings: 8
Nutrition information per serving (with pasta): 400 calories, 47 carbs, 20 fat, 10 protein

Ingredients:
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1 pound frozen spinach, defrosted
½ cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 ounces raw almonds
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, grated
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes       

Directions:
Add drained spinach, chopped parsley, almonds, salt, red pepper flakes, olive oil and grated garlic to a blender; blend until smooth, scraping down the sides when needed.

Cook orecchiette pasta according to package directions until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the hot cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the pesto until combined, adding some of the cooking liquid until desired consistency. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. 



28 comments:

  1. I've never done spinach pesto from frozen spinach - I'll have to try thing out! You know I love anything spicy. Good idea using the orecchiette pasta - I love how the pest get caught in the little crevices.

    You're going to own that race - you're so ready! :)

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    1. Using frozen spinach was a gamble, but it totally worked. It just concentrated the spinach flavor which is great!

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  2. This looks AMAZING! I started enjoying spinach a few years ago. First in casseroles, then raw in salads and now I love them in everything! Best of luck with the race and your new look is STUNNING! Wowza - congrats!

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    1. Thanks! Can't wait to spend some time over at your blog to hear how your trip went!

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  3. I'm with you on eating like Popeye--- spinach is a favorite in our house(even with my kids)! My son hates onions, but he'll scarf down my dishes with spinach... go figure. This looks healthy, light and satisfying!! Good luck with your 1/2 marathon.. more power to you girlfriend!! I can't run around the block let alone a marathon. I hope you crush the competition!! :) Have a great week~ Ramona

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    1. Thanks for the good luck! I'm going to need it :) tehehe.

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  4. This looks fabulous! Looks like you aren't letting the lack of cheese spoil any of your fun!! : )

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    1. I'm certainly trying to keep things interesting! It turns out the lack of cheese is forcing me to be even more creative. Let's hope that does not stop :)

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  5. I love the color on this--and the fact that it's got a kick. You used my favorite pasta shape, too!

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  6. Similarly I think cheap ingredients can give wonderful flavors and amazing dish just like this pesto recipe. Goodness, I am so taken back by the pics and I am drooling over the lovely pics you have attached.

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    1. I love making simple dishes like this that are so full of flavor and cheap to boot! Thank you for the wonderful compliment regarding the photos. It was an easy one to shoot. So colorful!

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  7. This is a great way to offset all the Valentine's sweets. Your picture sure does not look like it was made with frozen spinach-it looks so fresh! Delicious and healthy creation-bravo!

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    1. Thanks! I just can't get myself to make anything sweet for V-day (sorry, gang). But the wonders of frozen spinach never cease to amaze me. It's really the best deal in the supermarket and stays a vibrant green!

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  8. Woo hoo! Way to go on your upcoming 13.1! I am going to sign up for my 4th 1/2 marathon this summer and am excited to get training. This looks like a great pre-race week meal. I love anything with spinach so this will be going on my to-make list!

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  9. This pesto sounds delicious! I put red pepper flakes in everything (well almost), love them here!

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  10. Good luck on your half marathon! You will do awesome. I've never tried almonds or red pepper in my pesto. Looks delicious and will def try. Thanks!

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  11. Oh this looks SO DELICIOUS!!!! And wow, half marathon? You are a much better person than I!

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  12. I love that you used spinach and almonds for your pesto! It looks so delicious!

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  13. Mmm what a convenient and poised way to get that necessary dose of spinach. A little bit of heat pairs so well with greens like spinach. Well done!

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  14. How green can you get! That is one intense dish. Love it! :)

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  15. I might enjoy this more than regular basil pesto! Looks so wonderful! Good luck with your Half Marathon!!!

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  16. Your pesto looks fantastic! The color is gorgeous and I would love a plate right now for lunch:)xx

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    1. Thank you! This is one of those recipes I can't get enough of. Easy, cheap, and healthy!

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  17. This looks so healthy and delicious! Might need to make this asap for dinner =)

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  18. We love spinach in this house (one of the few vegetables we agree on) and pesto became my drug of choice last year. This one looks like a winner to add to the rotation!

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  19. This is beautiful! the green is so vibrant. Delish!

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  20. Oh. My. WORD! I HEART everything about this pesto! Spicy=check! Earthy=check! Nutty=check! SUPER creative=check!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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