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Sometimes you try a recipe and it immediately turns into a favourite. That happened this summer, when I served spinach pesto for the Italian Kookgrrls Cookalong.

I made it several times since and always to a great success. It came to a garden potluck and we spooned it out as a starter at a special dinner for my mother-in-law and one of her friends. The verdict is unanimous: this dish is GOOD!

So here’s the recipe, translated and slightly adapted from the Dutch vegetarian cookbook Gezond genieten: Mediterraan koken by Jan & Ineke Stevens.

Spinach pesto

Spinach Pesto with Olive Crackers (1st Kookgrrls Cookalong: Italy)


  • 300g clean fresh spinach
  • 2 tbs pine nuts
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • a good variety of olive oil (extra virgin)

When it’s still wet from washing, put the spinach in a saucepan and cook the leaves on high for a couple of minutes while turning them over a few times — until welted but still bright green. Drain thoroughly.

Blend the cooked spinach together with the garlic (it’s best to start with one clove and add more if necessary), pine nuts and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly add the olive oil until the pesto has a smooth consistency. Using a good type of oil improves the taste!

Now that’s easy, isn’t it?

This spinach spread is good with toast, crudités, as a side dish, on a sandwich and probably with pasta. And it’s perfect for bentos!

Courgette Flower Bento #193

Courgette Flower Bento #193

Summer Picnic Bento #191

Summer Picnic Bento #191

Bulghur Bento #190

Bulghur Bento #190


Summer Picnic Bento #191

When there was a warm summer night at last on July 25th, we immediately took off to our back garden the park to have dinner. Of course there were plenty of others who’d had the same idea, some of them BBQ-ing, others eating takeaway or -like us- having their own healthy homemade yummyness.

Summer Picnic Bento #191

The large container holds the last spoonful of Lebanese bulghur and spinach pesto that I also had the day before. Next to it there’s the first dish I cooked from vegan goddess Isa Chandra’s bible Veganomicon: basmati rice with chard, chickpeas, dill and lemon. It was good cold as well as hot! A mixed salad containing marinated zucchini leftovers fills the other half of this box.

The medium box has half a veggie dog, ajvar (bell pepper relish), spelt crackers and red berries for dessert.

And finally the small side container holds some more crackers (olive and rosemary) to eat with both spreads and chilled soup: we brought green gazpacho in a thermos, a new recipe coming from Puur Plantaardig. In fact: I’ll be making the same soup again for my mother-in-law’s birthday tomorrow. Perfect in this tropical weather!

Summer Picnic Bento #191

If you think I haven’t been making any bentos lately, you’re wrong. ;) I’ve got four of them to share, so you may expect some posts in the next few days! Starting with my office lunch from July 24th: Bulghur Bento.

Bulghur Bento #190

The name comes from some leftover Lebanese bulghur — which was very good! As were the other components of this lunch: spinach pesto (from our first Kookgrrls cookalong) with olive toast, caper berries and a few chickpeas, decorated with purple basil and flat parsley leaves. A mixed salad containing marinated courgette accompanied this meal and I had some sugar coated red berries for dessert.

The spinach pesto was a great success — I brought another batch to a potluck on the 1st Friday of this month and it was one of the most favourite dishes. :D It’s super easy to make, so I plan to post the recipe on Graasland. Seems like a fab contribution for VeganMoFo in October, of which you’ll hear more later!

Thursday’s bento. Click on the picture and look at the notes on the Flickr page to find out what’s in it! Thankfully the little bunny didn’t eat it all.

Salad of leek, tomato, cucumber, gherkin, lettuce, grilled zucchini, red onion and parsley, to be topped with pine nuts & walnut from the other tier.

Houmous with harissa, yoghurt coated apricot, plum tomatoes, cucumber & carrot sticks, homemade parsley pesto with walnut.

Cracker and yoghurt with cooked red currants on the side.

I’m not superstitious and I don’t believe Friday the 13th means bad luck. Hey, on Fridays it’s almost W.E.E.K.E.N.D.! But Monday the 13th… Yaiks, that’s something else indeed! I don’t like Mondays… And now both July and August bring us that black day :(

Today I hoped to balance things out a bit by bringing bento #61 to work: 6 + 1 = lucky number 7! :)

First tier:

  • bed of romaine lettuce
  • pesto egg with sundried tomato
  • carrot
  • hot pepper (from the balcony) with houmous
  • slice of cucumber
  • cauliflower florets
  • black olives
  • pine nuts

I also added some walnut after making the picture.

Second tier:

  • mexican nut mix (‘pepita mix‘)
  • carrot sticks
  • seedless grapes
  • pasta salad (corn, hot pepper, (fresh & sundried) tomato, pine nuts, pesto, basil, red tofu)

This bento really helped me get through my busy day! :)

Of course macaroni rigate is a bit too large for a real pasta salad but I am not small-minded when it comes to using leftovers!

BTW: did you spot the 3 song titles in this post??? Answers behind the cut :)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


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