Pronto Pesto

Pronto Pesto

Quick prep pesto sauce that is radiantly green, full of fresh veg (thanks, spinach!), and free of typical sauce unknowns. Gluten-free, dairy-free, garlic- and onion-free, low-FODMAP pesto sauce!

By, variation of Ina Garten's pesto

Italian fare, especially the fragrant and flavorful sauces, is so comforting and so off-limits to those of us with food issues. There are just too many unknowns in sauce: does it contain dairy - does it have onion or garlic - was flour used to thicken the base? Instead of troubling my head and my stomach with these thoughts, I simply make my own worry-free sauces, such as this amazingly quick to prep pesto number.

Taking a lusciously smooth pesto recipe from Ms. Garten's collection, adjustments have been made to my own preference and the food issues of the City-Ranch. She uses walnuts whereas I prefer pecans (we're in Texas, after all, and the pecan is our state tree!); she uses lots and lots of oil, and I have eliminated about one-third; Ina loves her some cheese in almost every savory dish, and traditionally pesto has cheese, just not the variation I am making. As usual, the original recipe calls for loads of garlic (talking 9 cloves, y'all!) which I have replaced with 1 Tbsp of Garlic-Infused Oil. Finally, I wanted to retain the fresh, green color of the pesto without using tons of expensive basil and to increase the veg content of this sauce; a huge container of baby spinach does the trick quite nicely!

This tasty pesto sauce will come together in less time than it took you to read this intro. I promise. Now, the clean-up...that's another matter...a long soak in a large bubble bath always did my food processor (and my mani) good.

Special Thanks

Thanks to Cuc Lam of the Houston Press for her mention of our Pronto Pesto recipe in her This Week in Houston Food Blogs August 16, 2016.


  • 1 Tbsp Garlic-Infused Oil
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 1 large container fresh basil (4-ounce), washed and stems removed
  • 1 large container fresh baby spinach (10-ounce), prewashed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (olive, canola, grapeseed)


  1. Fit food processor with standard blade attachment. Into bowl of processor, add Infused Oil, pecans, and pine nuts. Pulse for 15 seconds or until the nuts have formed a paste.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl using silicon spatula. Into bowl, add basil, spinach, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times to mix.
  3. Take vegetable oil and place into measuring cup with a spout. Through the feed tube of food processor, slowly pour oil while processor is on; this process should take about 20 - 30 seconds.
  4. Turn off processor. Using spatula, scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Turn on processor and allow to process approximately 1 minute in order to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Turn off processor, and you're done!


  • Use pesto at refrigerator or room temperature only. Do not heat pesto. Allow the heat of the item you are pairing with the pesto (such as hot pasta) to naturally heat up the pesto.
  • Serve with roasted spaghetti squash, roasted and sliced eggplant, or over brown rice pasta.
  • In college, my roommate Kensley and I would make what we considered gourmet sandwiches all from the contents of our dorm fridge and with our toaster. Our fave was toasted sandwich bread spread with pesto and filled with deli ham. Try it! So good and simple!
  • Pour into ice cube trays, cover with a thin coat of oil, cover tray in plastic wrap, and freeze overnight. In the morning, remove pesto ice cubes from tray and into plastic freezer storage bag. Store in freezer for up to 3 months; defrost one pesto ice cube per serving overnight before using.
  • Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days in storage container with a thin coating of oil on top of pesto.
  • Migraine Warning: Nuts (pecans and pine nuts).