March 17, 2010

Homemade Spinach Pesto With Pasta Recipe

Your Family Today: Recipes

Homemade Spinach Pesto With Penne

From the Editors of Your Family Today

Spinach has a milder flavor than basil, which some kids find to be bitter. (The touch of honey here adds a little sweetness too.) It’s also rich in heart-healthy, cancer-preventing antioxidants. Pair this pesto with fiber-rich whole-wheat penne to give it an extra nutrition boost.

Time-saving tip: Both the penne and pesto can be prepared several days in advance and refrigerated separately. Or they can be combined and then refrigerated. Simply heat in microwave before serving.                                                       

Makes 6 servings (about 2 cups per serving)

12 ounces whole-wheat (or regular) penne
3/4 cup finely chopped grape tomatoes

For pesto:
4 1/2 to 5 cups packed baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons honey
5 to 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Cook penne according to package directions; drain well.

2. While penne cooks, prepare pesto by combining spinach, basil, garlic, nuts, cheese, lemon juice and honey in a food processor bowl.

3. Processes until ingredients form a thick paste.

4. With machine running, slowly pour in 5 tablespoons oil; process until combined. Add additional tablespoon oil if slightly thinner pesto is desired.

5. In a large bowl, toss penne with pesto.

6. Lightly stir in chopped tomatoes and serve.

Nutrition information per serving 425 calories; 20 g fat; 12 mg cholesterol; 235 mg sodium; 47 g carbohydrate; 5.5 g fiber; 15 g protein.

This recipe was written by Kim Galeaz, a registered dietitian and culinary nutrition consultant. She is the owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications, located in Indianapolis and Jacksonville, Fla.

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