Nuts are also problematic for her, as they are for many others. While pesto can easily be made without nuts, I find these recipes lacking in both texture and flavor. Coconut is a workable alternative. The garlic, ginger and mint are so powerful, that the coconut is barely perceptible while still imparting a bit of flavor and the textural element every pesto needs.
Versatility and simplicity are further reasons to keep a good pesto recipe in the back pocket. It may not always, (or ever) be easy to cook a meal due to time constraints, finicky kids or a limited kitchen. Pesto makes it easy to have an adult meal without a lot of fuss. Plus there are so many ways to use it from steak toppings to pizza sauce to sandwiches. Lamb burgers with pesto-mayo anyone? Let your imagination run wild. As for me, I'm sticking with my zucchini noodles, or zughetti as I like to call it.
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach, rinsed
handful fresh mint leaves, rinsed and de-stemmed
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste
2 large zucchini, spiralized or 4 oz. uncooked spaghetti
Using a blender or food processor, pulse the ginger, garlic, spinach, mint and coconut with the olive oil until smooth. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper to season and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If using the zucchini, cook for 2 and 1/2 minutes. If using the spaghetti, cook according to package directions. Strain the cooked noodles, plate and top with a large scoop of the pesto. Garnish with any remaining mint or spinach leaves and serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings