Saturday, August 9, 2008

Saturday's Lunch: Shrimp w/Spinach Pesto

So, if you haven't read by now, I'm on a rather interesting health kick. Check out my other blog ( to follow how it goes. I typically get inspiration from so many places for a dish or for a meal. I'm not sure where this one came from though. I knew I had shrimp in the freezer (remember, a key rule of everyday cookin' is to buy what's on sale - shrimp were on sale). That rule is key too, because you'll see me do three of four shrimp dishes in a row and then switch to chicken, or pork, or turkey - well, it's because I've bought what was only on sale - lol. Hey, it works for me!

Well, I knew I wanted to do some pesto - but I had to figure out how to make it figure friendly. I can't be trying to shed pounds with tons of oil and cheese, right? So, here's what I did. I used fresh spinach, sliced almonds that I toasted, a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper for the pesto. You say wait - I'm missing two key ingredients, right? I'm missing more oil because surely that much spinach won't survive the best of food processors and I'm missing cheese. Well, instead of using more oil - I used low sodium chicken stock and I didn't add the cheese in, but rather on top. I tossed this w/some sauteed shrimp and a sauce of tomatoes, basil, onions, and garlic - and boy was it good.

The Ingredients for the Pesto
Almonds - way better than walnuts!
A garlic clove
Two tablespoons of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 cup of chicken stock

Toast the almonds first in a dry pan. When they're done add to the food processor along with some spinach, half the oil, and the garlic clove. Pulse until a paste forms. Add in the rest of the spinach, the salt and pepper, and the last of the olive oil. Pulse again until a thick paste forms. To thin out - add chicken stock at about two tablespoons at a time until the right consistency forms. Put that to the side.

In a saute pan add a tablespoon of olive oil. When it starts to waft a bit, add in a few cloves of chopped garlic, half a minced onion, and two plum tomatoes. A sauce will start to form - when that happens add in some basil (the dried stuff would work here too) to taste and throw in the shrimp. When shrimp are almost done add in the pesto and let it come to a bit of a boil. If the mixture is too thick, add in a bit of the reserved chicken stock. Taste at this point for seasoning - if needed add more basil, salt, or pepper.

Toss this with whole grain pasta - any type will work, I used penne rigate because it holds onto the sauce better. Top this with shaved Parmesan and enjoy. I know I did...and the sauce was soo good I'm thinking about roasting potatoes and maybe using this as a dipping sauce. Maybe even roasted chicken and instead of gravy using this. Ohhh, maybe a turkey panini - and using this sauce as the condiment - who knows, but I found myself enjoying the sauce waaaay too much! The almonds also do something to this dish that's super good!


glamah16 said...

Nice adjustments you made her. I cant see the slides, but it sounds heavenly.

Kevin said...

That looks good! I really like the sound of adding shrimp to a pesto pasta.

Keith said...

This is my first time on your blog,
but I've seen your comments on Zack, Dreamy and A Go Bytch's blogs
many times. I too am a cook (Did it
for 22 years in the military) and I
really appreciate anybody who loves
the preparation of good food the way I do. I really like this blog
and your other blog too.

Prince Xem VanAdams-Lumumba said...

Its because of YOU and these Blog Postings that I ALWAYS feel that Im NOT getting the Best for My Dollars at the Grocery Store.


You are So HILARIOUS!~

Dee said...

Hey, this is an interesting take on pesto that I'm really keen to try. Especially with the almonds :) Yum!

Cynthia said...

Oh yeah, I'd have a plate of that! I've added spinach to pesto with basil before and do find that the spinach makes the pesto creamy. And the shrimp - what's not to love!

A Go Bytch said...

This looks really good. Although I prefer to roast my nuts in stoneware...have you ever tried that?

giz said...

Hmmmm..spinach pesto - now that's something I have to try!!! That'll help you keep your girlish figure after everything you inhaled on the trip :)

Barbara Gallo Farrell said...

Spinach is a great idea for pesto, Darius. I wonder if you used raw fresh leaves (as you would basil) or did you cook them first?

Bridgett said...

Shrimp with pesto is always a great combination. Try using arugula in a pesto as well, it has a great peppery kick. At least with the spinach you know you are loading up on nutrients!

Natashya said...

I love spinach pesto, and almonds are my fave nut. Sounds like a wonderful meal. The whole wheat pasta is one of my faves as well, we had some last night. I love pasta. I have to stop myself from cooking it all the time - you know, for the sake of the rest of the family!
I always buy on sale too. I keep the little freezer in the basement busy.

Prudy said...

Those are clever adjustments to make the food enjoyable and still healthful. It looks wonderful. I buy meat on sale always but I'm always scared my freezer will go out!

kellypea said...

We love pesto and that sounds pretty yummy! And I like the way you shop. I try to buy things on sale, but they end up in the freezer for later so I don't end up with the same dish a few days in a row. Call it a short attention span!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful dish! What a great combination! Yummy!



Nikki Miller-Ka said...

I can't have pesto bc of the nuts but I make pretend pesto with breadcrumbs.

I haven't always been allergic to nuts...I remember almonds. They were my favorite. I like(d) smoked almonds the best. Or slivered ones on top of everything. I miss almonds... :(

OhioMom said...

Oh now I really want some of that spinach pesto! I am drooling here, let me pull up a chair!

Jeanne said...

Spinach pesto... now there's a thought. Very clever substitutions and it doesn't sound as if you compromised on flavour one little bit!

kayellejaye said...

This looks so good. Spinach almond pesto sounds so much better than the original.