Picky eaters big and small love this dairy-free and nut-free pesto made with spinach, kale, and bone broth.
Thanks to Trader Joe’s Vegan Kale, Cashew, and Basil Pesto, my kids love all things pesto- pesto on pasta, pesto on pizza, pesto on veggies. Without a doubt, this summer they got hooked on pesto. And, in my sneaky way, I successfully baited and switched them over to this homemade pesto packed with spinach, kale, and gut-healing bone broth. Don’t get me wrong, the convenience of pre-made pesto is great and at times needed, but nothing beats homemade when it comes to sustainability, budgeting, and overall awareness of what we’re putting in our bodies.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways to make pesto. I’d probably love them all, but I wanted a pesto packed with nutrient-dense foods that my kids might not otherwise eat, which is why kale and spinach are the first two ingredients. Kale and spinach also complement each other nutritionally as a cup of kale contains more calcium (9% RDA), Vitamin A (206%), Vitamin C (134%), and Vitamin K (685%); whereas a cup of spinach has higher levels of folate (15%) and choline (5.4mg).
Bone broth is also one of those foods that is so healthy and healing, but it’s just not appealing to my young kids. This pesto, however, is the perfect vehicle for getting a teeny bit more into to their diets.
My daughter’s first two-syllable word was cashew, so it’s safe to say my kids eat plenty of nuts. We’re still waiting for her to say kale and spinach, but thanks to this recipe she’s already starting to love her greens. I know pesto is delicious with cashews, pine nuts, even sunflower seeds, but I decided to go nut-free this time. Believe me, it’s still delicious!
Easy as one, two, three…
I love pesto for its quick and fool-proof ways. Really, this is no more difficult than making a box of macaroni and cheese. Simply throw all of the ingredients except for the extra virgin olive oil into a food processor or blender. Blend for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the extra virgin olive oil and blend until smooth.
Cooked Versus Raw
I know most people consider their pesto done after this step, but this is where I do things a little differently. I like to transfer the pesto to a small saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes. Why would I do this? There are a actually a few reasons. One, my son has a serious aversion to anything spicy. I find that heating the pesto helps to give it a milder taste.
Also, there are real health benefits of cooked greens over raw greens. Spinach and kale are both high in oxalic acid, an antinutrient that can block our body from absorbing essential nutrients. Cooking spinach and kale releases the oxalic acid, allowing us to absorb higher levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamine, calcium, iron, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. However, it’s also a trade-off as raw greens have higher levels of folate, Vitamin C, riboflavin, and potassium. Whether you decide to heat it for a few minutes or eat it raw really comes down to personal preference.
Eat Your Leafy Greens!
I make this pesto sauce at least once a week as it’s so quick and simple, provides a little flavor to just about any dish, and enhances our diet with its superfood ingredients. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you’ll follow me on social media for more recipes to come!
Dairy-Free Pesto with Spinach, Kale, and Bone Broth
- 1 cup packed spinach
- 1 cup packed kale
- 1/2 cup packed basil
- 1/2 cup bone broth
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
Place all ingredients except for the extra virgin olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend for about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
Add the extra virgin olive oil and blend until smooth.
Transfer ingredients to small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Let simmer 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Eat immediately or let cool before refrigerating.