linguine with almond pesto

Experimenting in the kitchen: almond, tomatillo, and spinach pesto

Pesto is one of my all time favorite sauces for pasta (I’ve made an avocado one before) and I knew it’s what I wanted to use last night when I got the request for chicken and linguine.

Since I got off of work at 9 p.m., at first I was going to just stop by Target and pick up one of the pre-made sauces that they sell (bad, I know). As I was sitting on the bus home, I was thinking of what I had in the kitchen, and that’s when I had the idea of making a pesto out of almonds and spinach.

What’s great about pesto sauces is that you can pretty much mix and match any ingredients you want while sticking to the basics: leafy green/ herb, nuts, olive oil, garlic, and cheese. Of course, you can get even more creative and started using roasted tomatoes etc.

linguine with almond pesto
The result of my experiment: Linguine and corn with almond pesto.

And I’m very glad I decided to do that because I ended up creating a sauce that tasted amazing – seriously, I wouldn’t be sharing it with you otherwise.

What you’ll need
2 handfuls of roasted almonds
3 tomatillos
3 garlic cloves
about 1/2 cup spinach
1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 – 3/4 cup of grated cheese (I used Pepperjack)
a splash of heavy cream (optional)
1/2 tbsp. coconut (or light) olive oil
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
1 bell pepper, sliced
1/4 of a large white onion (or 1 medium), roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Lay almonds in one layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 – 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool slightly.

roasted almonds
I love the smell (and taste) of roasted almonds. These also make a great snack.
tomatillos and garlic
Tomatillos and garlic.

In your blender or food processor, combine almonds, spinach, tomatillos, and garlic. Since I use a blender, I do this in steps so as not to overload my blender or loosen the blade (yes, this has happened before). Add the olive oil and blend until creamy. You may need to add more olive depending on how thick you want your sauce. Next add your cheese of choice and blend with sauce. Now, I decided to add a splash of heavy cream because it’s currently in my fridge, but you don’t have to.

While you’re preparing the linguine and other part of the sauce, you can just let the pesto sit in the blender.

Heat coconut oil over medium heat. I’ve started using coconut oil a lot more in my cooking now, but you can use a light olive oil. Add onions and saute until soft and ever so slightly browned. Toss in the corn kernels and cook until softened (about 5 minutes or so). Add the pepper and cook until slightly softened.

Now add your pesto to the pan and stir to combine with vegetables. You can add a little bit of water if you want the pesto slightly thinner. Finally, add the linguine and toss with pesto and veggies until completely covered.

chicken linguine
Version two of my experiment served as a side. Linguine with baked chicken legs (skin removed).

You can either enjoy this as your main dish (as I did since I wasn’t in the mood for meat last night) or serve as a side, as you can see in version two of dinner. Enjoy!

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