Spinach Pesto Strata

This strata was something that I whipped up because we had guests coming to the beach, a loaf of bread getting stale, and some egg whites leftover from the German Chocolate Cake.  This is a great recipe to make for company since you assemble it the night before and bake it off in the morning.  I didn’t have a recipe for this, so below are just estimates for amounts.  I was a little skeptical of whether this would turn out, but it actually turned out great and was a big crowd pleaser.  It’s also a great multi-meal option, so while I served it as a breakfast, it would definitely work for lunch or dinner too.

Spinach Pesto StrataSpinach Pesto Strata (A Seat at the Table)

Serves 6-8

  • 1 loaf stale bread (I used half of a French baguette and half of a whole wheat boule)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach (thawed, drained frozen spinach would also probably work)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup pesto

Grease a 10×13″ pan with cooking spray.  Cut the bread into large bite-sized chunks, and add 1/3 of the bread to the prepared pan.  Layer about half of the spinach over the bread, add another 1/3 of bread, the remaining spinach and then the remaining bread.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, eggs, milk, salt, pepper and pesto.  Carefully pour the mixture evenly over the bread and spinach.  Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning remove the strata from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake for about 30-45 minutes, or until set, a knife inserted into the middle should be mostly dry.  If the strata starts to brown too quickly, cover with foil and continue baking until set.

Roasted Mushroom and Pesto Pasta

This is a quick, easy meal to throw together.  I’d been planning on making pesto stuffed mushrooms, but I needed something a little more substantial than that.  Throwing in some whole wheat pasta and ricotta makes this dinner!  Paired with a salad, it’s quite the tasty dinner.

Roasted Mushroom and Pesto Pasta

Serves 6

  • 16oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Chop mushrooms and toss lightly with olive oil.  Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes while making the pasta.

Bring large pot of water to a boil and add about 1 Tbsp salt.  Add pasta and cook for about 9 minutes, until tender.  Drain pasta, retaining about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Mix pasta with pesto, ricotta, and some of the cooking water if needed.  Add mushrooms, season to taste.

Basil Vinaigrette

A few weeks ago when Sister (I really do refer to her as “sister” in real life) and Chris were visiting we went to the beach and visited Dogfish Head Distillery and Pub.  I got a salad topped with a crab cake (which was delicious!), but the star of the meal was the basil vinaigrette.  It was so summery, fresh, fragrant and pretty!  I loved it!

While this dressing isn’t quite like the one from Dogfish Head, it’s still wonderfully fresh and delicious, and most importantly, easy.  This is also great drizzled on fresh tomatoes

Basil Vinaigrette

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 1/2 lemon juiced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until well mixed.

I served this on a salad with chicken.  My tip for super moist chicken breasts is to drizzle a little olive oil on top, sprinkle with salt, pepper and any herbs you desire (rosemary is delicious).  Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes until cooked through.  Enjoy!

Pesto-Crusted Tilapia

Fish still kind of intimidates me, so in an attempt to conquer my fears I made this Pesto-Crusted Tilapia.  Unfortunately, I didn’t season the fish before dipping it in the pesto, so learn from my errors and make sure you salt and pepper (and maybe even add a little lemon juice) to the fish first.

Pesto-Crusted Tilapia

Serves 4

  • 2 large tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Grease a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.

Rinse and pat dry the fish.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a wide,  shallow dish, whisk pesto and eggs together until smooth.

In a separate shallow dish, mix oats, salt and pepper together.

Dredge the fish in the pesto mixture, and then in the oat mixture.  Place fish in the prepared pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

I served this with pesto pasta.  Mixed about 1/2 cup pesto with 3 cups whole wheat pasta.  Delicious!  The combo really played up the pesto flavor (and made up for the fact that I undersalted the fish).

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

This was a surprisingly delicious dish.  It was even better the next day for lunch.  I’m a big fan of broccoli, so I loved this twist on pesto that uses cooked broccoli instead of an herb.  The lemon kicks this up a notch, adding a fresh, subtly tart note.  I highly recommend this!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Serves 4-6

Adapted from Whole Living

  • 2 cups cooked whole wheat pasta (I used rotini)
  • 5 cups broccoli florets and thinly sliced stems
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

Steam or blanche the broccoli until bright green and just tender.  Shock the broccoli in a cold water bath to stop the cooking.  Drain well and set aside.

To make the pesto, combine 2 cups of the cooked broccoli, garlic, 1/2 cup pine nuts, Parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until well-mixed.  Add olive oil and Greek yogurt and pulse until smooth.

Toss cooked pasta, remaining broccoli, lemon zest and pesto in a large bowl, sprinkle remaining pine nuts on top.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Pesto Ricotta Spread

After making pesto, I knew I wanted to include it in my sandwich.  We also had some ricotta, so I whipped up a quick spread.  This was absolutely delicious.  It’s a flavorful, nutritious spread, definitely adds something special to a sandwich.

Pesto Ricotta Spread

Makes enough for 1 sandwich

  • 1 heaping Tbsp ricotta
  • 1 heaping tsp pesto
  • 1/2 tsp mayonnaise

Mix all ingredients well and spread on sandwich bread and top with favorite ingredients.

Basil Pesto

There are certain foods that just say “Summer” to me:  ice cream, corn on the cob, watermelon, and pesto (to name a few).  So despite not having a plan for what to do with some pesto, I knew I wanted to make some  before summer comes to an end.  So far I’ve added it to scrambled eggs and quiche and a sandwich.  If I can’t think of anything else, I can freeze it and use it later in the year when I need a reminder of what summer tastes like.

Basil Pesto

Makes about 1 cup

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup parmesan
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.


Chickpea Pesto Sandwich

This is one tasty sandwich.  I thought this recipe sounded intriguing and wanted to try it out.  Unfortunately I made an incomplete grocery list and was missing quite a few of the ingredients when I decided to make this, but I just improvised and it turned out really well!  This is a filling, super flavorful, vegetarian sandwich.  I recommend this with a hearty bread, the filling has a ton of flavor, so go with a rustic bread that can handle the bold flavor.

With the lime juice in this you don’t have to worry about the avocado turning brown and unappealing, so this is great to make the night before if you need a quick lunch the next day.

Chickpea Pesto Sandwich

Serves 4-5

Adapted from Running to the Kitchen

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (I used tubed herbs)
  • 1 Tbsp basil, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup fat-free ricotta cheese, or greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • bread of your choice

Combine first 9 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until well mixed.  Add half the can of chickpeas to the food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.  Mix the remaining chickpeas into the mixture, top bread with mixture and enjoy!