Appetizers/ Condiments/ snacks

Toasted Walnut Spinach Basil Pesto

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The other night Melissa made Toasted Walnut Spinach Basil Pesto with lots of fresh ingredients. The basil was straight from our garden!

Toasted Walnut Spinach Basil Pesto

We’ve had pretty good success with our gardens so far this year. This is a pretty big deal for us because for many recent years that hasn’t been the case. We always loved having a garden and loved the ability to grow our own fresh ingredients, but when you have 2 working parents and 3 young kids it becomes REALLY tough to find time for anything else. I mean ANYTHING!

fresh pesto ingredients ready for blending

fresh pesto ingredients ready for blending

Our decision to go down to 1 income

A little over a year ago we decided it was time for Melissa to quit her job and devote more time to our kids and our home life. This was a really tough decision for a number of reasons:

  • We knew surviving on 1 salary would be difficult. Having 3 kids is expensive. Our health benefits came through Melissa’s job and we knew that would be another big added expense to go along with the loss of her income.
  • She worked really hard at her job and it was tough for her to walk away from something she put so much effort into.
  • She liked many aspects of her job and many of her co-workers and those, too, were hard to walk away from.
  • The fear of the unknown. When you spend a decade learning to do one thing the thought of having to start over doing something completely different can be a little…well…terrifying!

But in the end, after much debate, we decided it was the right decision. And here’s why:

HAPPINESS! There were lots of reasons to not make this decision, but none of those turned out to be as important as the one reason to do so: happiness. Melissa’s job was very physical and she would pour all her energy into it and then come home exhausted. And for all you parents out there, you know that 3 kid dinner hour is not easy! Spending time with our kids is the most important part of our day and we want to bring as much positive energy to that time as we can. So in the end, we decided quality of life and quality time with our kids trumped all the other factors.

And we were right! Having one parent in the house to help the day to day run more smoothly has been a very positive change in our lives. That isn’t to say things suddenly became easy. We still are adjusting to a new income level and realize we will need to figure out a way to generate more income in the future. Life is still exhausting. We still don’t get to half the things on our to do list. But we knew all of this going in. And while we still face tons of challenges ahead, we know we can face them as a team. And we love that we get a little more quality time with our kids. You can’t put a price tag on that. Plus, we have gardens!

Thanks for allowing that little side story into our life. We know all the parents out there face tons of common and tons of unique challenges. Our only advice would just be to continue to try. Don’t get discourage by the ‘failures’ you will face. Failure is a word that needs to be redefined. In parenting and life in general there will be tons of moments when things don’t go as planned. Tons of moments when you ‘fail’. But these are just growth opportunities; These are chances to learn, grow, and recommit. True failure only comes if you stop trying. So, keep trying! And at the end of the day know that you are not alone. Parenting is such an amazing joy, but it’s also a supreme challenge!

Okay, back to the pesto:

What is pesto?

According to the all knowing Wikipedia:

“Pesto (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpesto], Genoese: [ˈpestu]) is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto genovese),[1] and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese), and Fiore Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk).[2]”

The Many uses of Pesto

One of the reasons pesto is so great is because it is so versatile. You can spread it on bread. You can use it on pizza. You can add it to a sauce. You can use it on a salad. On popcorn? Yup, you can use pesto on popcorn. And you can use pesto in so many other ways. You might even say that pesto is the besto! Sorry….I couldn’t resist. 🙂

spinach basil pesto with parmesan cheese

Add in some Parmesan Cheese

Here’s our recipe for Homemade Basil Walnut Pesto:

Toasted Walnut Spinach Basil Pesto

Print Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 c . spinach
  • 1 c . basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 c . toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 c . toasted walnuts
  • 1/3 c . grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c . Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Put all ingredients except oil in food processor and pulse until chopped.
  • Add oil while food processor is on until mixed.

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How to Make Curried Vegan Asparagus Soup

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    May 26, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    I like to add lemon juice to my spinach pesto. Gives it a little extra zing! I’ll have to try toasting the walnuts next time. Great recipe!

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