The other day Ameya and I were grocery shopping and I came across a beautiful display of local spinach. I eagerly started picking through the bunches looking for the perfect ones. Ameya looked at me concerned. “You are buying that stuff for you and Dad right?” she asked. “No, we will all be eating this for dinner sometime this week. You don’t like spinach? What is it about it that you don’t like?” I asked. She looked at me like I was crazy. “Um, it’s green.”
It’s funny how many kids seem to be born with an instinctual hatred for all edibles that are green. In babyhood you can generally feed your kids whatever your heart desires, I didn’t have too much trouble throwing greens into baby food with success. But when autonomy hits around 2 or 3 years of age, the acceptance of greens goes out the window. I’m lucky because my kids are pretty accommodating of most things green. They love avocado and broccoli, asparagus is always given two thumbs up, they feverishly devour dried seaweed, they will tolerate green beans when cooked a certain way, peas are acceptable in many foods, but leafy greens? No, can do.
That being said I am a determined person and I haven’t yet given up on the greens war. There have been epic failures and tears have been shed over the greenness of a meal. But there have been successes too, and this recipe was one of them. Everyone devoured their meals happily and Ameya even rewarded me with a “this is the best dinner ever!”
It’s a pesto really only in its color as it lacks the usual parmesan cheese, basil and pine nuts but it is a delicious and healthy vegan alternative, loaded with vegetables and protein. We served it over pasta and to add some extra zing for Adam and I, I topped the pasta with golden sautéed mushrooms with salt, lots of freshly ground pepper and rosemary.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large zucchini - chopped
- 1 medium/large onion - chopped
- 3 cloves garlic - sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp herb de Provence
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1½- 2 bunches of spinach
- 1 cup walnuts
- juice of 1 lemon
- Heat up oil in pan on medium. When oil is hot add onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes.
- Add tomato paste and herbs. When herbs are fragrant add zucchini and salt. Fry on medium until zucchini is tender. Be careful not to burn garlic as this will give the mixture a bitter flavor.
- Put cooked zucchini mixture into blender and puree. Add spinach to blender and puree again. If the spinach can’t be added in all once add it in a few batches. Add walnuts to mixture and puree again. Keep pureeing until mixture is smooth.
- Add juice of one lemon and mix. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.