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Better-than-Pesto Puree

Easily add more vegetables and flavor with this pesto recipe from The Sparkpeople Cookbook.

Per Serving: 65.4 calories, 6.8 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 5.6 mg sodium, 1.1 g total carbs, 0.4 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g protein
Yield: Serves 8 (1 Tbsp/Serving)


This is a great way to work more vegetables into your meals. This puree of basil, spinach, and parsley is reminiscent of pesto, with much less oil and no cheese. The fresh flavor of the herbs and spinach really shine through.

By blanching and shocking the leaves, they will keep their bright green color after being pureed. Skip this step and you'll end up with a black puree. Likewise, removing the stems from spinach and parsley is a chore, but I truly believe you end up with a smoother, tastier product in the end.

I like to use it instead of tomato sauce on pizza, but you can also add color, flavor, and almost a full serving of vegetables to any pizza, pasta, or seafood dish. For a variation, you could add a 1⁄4 cup of toasted, cooled, and chopped walnuts.

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup spinach, washed and stems removed
  • 1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, washed and stems removed
  • 2 tbsp minced shallots
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp black pepper


  1. Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside.

  2. Fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the basil, spinach, and parsley and cook for no more than 60 seconds. Drain and immediately transfer the leaves in the ice water to shock them; let them sit in the water for 1 minute, then drain. Wring in a clean kitchen towel to remove excess moisture.

  3. Place the cooked leaves and the shallots in a food processor or blender. Puree, adding the oil in a steady stream while the blender is running. Season with pepper. This will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 6 months.

Reprinted from The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose The Weight (c) 2011 by SparkPeople, Inc. Permission granted by Hay House, Inc., New York, NY 10033. Available wherever books are sold.

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