Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Basil Spinach Pasta

Basil at My Kitchen Window Sill
Basil on My Kitchen Windowsill

We would have been broke if we had used herbs from the local grocery shops for our daily cooking. 🙂 The herbs in these stores are that much expensive. 10 tiny finger-length branches in a cute little box would usually sell for 2 dollars and some change. The more upscale the grocery chain is, the pricier the herbs are. First few years here, I mostly cancelled the herbs from my shopping list. Later, I started growing them myself. A must to grow would be mint, and some summers I also grow basil and cilantro.

For this summer, I have planted basil in a small container. Kept it on my kitchen windowsill, where it gets plenty of sunlight, and watered it regularly. After a month, the container is full of well grown and overflowing basil. So, the time has come for the first harvest and for a flavorful meal. With trimmed branches of basil, some spinach and cashews cooked together, I prepared a special sauce for pasta for lunch. A different taste from routine tomato sauced pasta. If you like pasta in pesto, then this recipe is for you and the sauce is as good as it looks.:)

Basil, Spinach, Cashews, Green Chillies, Garlic, Tomato and Pasta


1 cup of basil and 1 small bunch of spinach
Medium red onion and tomato – one each, cut into big pieces
6 to 8 green chillies and 4 garlic cloves – sliced into big chunks
Half cup of cashews
Salt and peanut/olive oil to your liking
Pasta of your choice

1. In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Saut? onion, garlic, green chillies and tomato to golden brown. Remove and keep them aside.

2. Saut? spinach, basil until they wilt in the same skillet. Remove and keep them aside. Wipe the skillet clean, add and dry roast cashews to golden color.

3. When they are all cool to touch, take them all in a blender, add a teaspoon of salt and puree them into smooth mixture.

4. Heat a teaspoon of oil and pour in the pureed mixture. Stir in half to one cup of water. Have a taste, add salt if needed and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce reaches the thickness you desire.

5. Meanwhile bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add and cook pasta until aldente usually for about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine and serve piping hot.

Basil-Spinach Pasta with Hard Boiled Eggs
Pasta in Basil-Spinach-Cashew Sauce with Hard Boiled Eggs
From Pot to Plate for L.G’s Green Blog Project

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Basil,Cashews,Pasta,Spinach (Tuesday June 13, 2006 at 3:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (29)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

29 comments for Basil Spinach Pasta »

  1. Indira, your basil looks beautiful!

    We’ve planted several varieties; but they’ve only been in the garden a week or so…we’re hoping the plants explode with leaves, but Knoxville seems to have dried up completely. No rain in weeks!

    Unfortunately, the windowsills in our 76 year old house are too narrow to support potted plants, or I’d probably have every single one covered in herbs and flowers.

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Stephanie. It’s all because of southwest facing kitchen window.
    I have seen the garden post on your blog, thought wow, lot of herbs at Stephanie’s house come summer.:)
    May be the Florida hurricane, when it moves from there, will bring rains to you. Let’s hope.
    76 years old, …We live in a 40 year old house, I thought that’s old.:)
    Did you hear about big Ben, Stephanie? Without helmet in Pittsburgh… I don’t understand tempting fate like this, so sad. I hope he survives this crash.

    Comment by Stephanie — June 13, 2006 @ 4:21 pm

  2. Hi Indira,
    Have been looking at your blog for the last couple of months and have been trying some of your recipes….I must say – they come real good.
    My q’s is this- I am not a big fan of Garlic. I know Italian cooking absolutely needs garlic, but would it be a big deal to not use garlic in this sauce?

    Indira replies:
    I am glad to hear that the recipes from my blog are working out for you, thanks for letting me know, Madhavi.
    Not at all, go ahead and try it. There are already lot of flavors going on here, even without garlic, this will taste good, I am guessing here.:)
    Also like all herbs, basil is an acquired taste. If this is your first time with basil, add only one or two branches, see how you like the sauce.

    Comment by Madhavi — June 13, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

  3. Hey Indira this recipe is almost similar to Italian Basil Pesto! Looks very yummy!

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Sumitha.

    Comment by Sumitha — June 13, 2006 @ 4:57 pm

  4. Indira, I have a question. How do u grow mint? I do not know a thing about gardening. The mint which I find here has a strong taste and completely spoils the taste of any dish. I want to grow ‘pudina’, is it possible?
    BTW..let me ask you a silly question… If I want to grow coriander, what kind of soil I have to buy? what else I need?

    Indira replies:
    Indian store ‘pudina’ tastes little bit mild, did you try it?
    Mint is easy to grow. Pick few branches that look sturdy and plant them deep in soil, immersing atleast half of the length of branch in soil. Sunlight is very imp. Keep the container where it shines and water it regularly. “Indosungod” (food and garden blogger) blogged about growing mint in images. Check her blog for idea.
    I grow coriander with regular grocery store coriander seeds. Just sprinkle them in soil, loosely cover with dirt. Water and Sun. I usually buy miracle-grow brand soil. One big bag every year for my planting. That’s it. Sun is essential for the plants to thrive and survive more than anything.
    Happy gardening!:)

    Comment by shilpa — June 13, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

  5. Hey Indira,

    I love the picture of your Basil Plant. It looks beautiful.
    And the recipe sounds yummy. I make Basil Pesto that is similar. But I’ll surely try your recipe. We love Pasta at home so anything different would be most welcome.


    Indira replies:
    It looks healthy, doesn’t it?, thanks Latha.
    almost like basil pesto but greener because of spinach. Give it a try.

    Comment by Latha — June 13, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

  6. To follow up on Shilpa’s question above, I too have trouble growing cilantro/corriander. If it’s among the herbs you grow, what kind of source did you get it from? I bought a young plant from our local farmers’ market a couple of summers ago, but it didn’t live very long 🙁

    Indira replies:
    Yes, they are little bit tough to grow.
    For cilantro, I usually grow them from seeds, regular Indian grocery, cooking type coriander seeds. Sprinkle them in soil, loosely cover them with soil, Sun and water regularly.
    I avoid buying young plants, mainly because they don’t survive well when transferred from one container to another. Very delicate, they are not like mint or basil. So I usually start them from seeds.
    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Uma — June 13, 2006 @ 6:56 pm

  7. Hi Indira,
    Basil plant looks cute and it is very good to see green kitchen, when we wake up and prepare our daily food starting from coffee to dinner. I do kept mint in kitchen windowsill.

    Indira replies:
    And also the smell. It’s good to wake up to that fresh smell.
    Post a photo of mint for GBP, Vineela. Thanks.

    Comment by vineela krishna — June 13, 2006 @ 7:09 pm

  8. Cashewnut-basil pesto, Wow that sounds fabulous !!!! I love pesto in the ordinary pinenut way, and also the ones made with walnut, but cashewnut, god that sounds all too gooood.

    Indira replies:
    Little bit sweet because of roasted cashew paste. Fabulous, I agree. 🙂

    Comment by Archana Thomas — June 13, 2006 @ 7:12 pm

  9. The plant looks beautiful.
    What kind of basil is it?
    I didn’t know we could use cashews in pestos. I always use pine nuts. Next time I will try cashews. Sounds yummy.

    Indira replies:
    Thanks RP, it’s sweet basil.
    Cashew is more to my taste and also I have them in my pantry. Trying out something different.:)

    Comment by RP — June 13, 2006 @ 7:46 pm

  10. Looks delicious! I never tried any basil pesto, now i definitely try your version (I always try to go with tested version, since it gives it good result always:)
    BTW, I have an point to add to cilantro growing. I am trying to grow them for 3rd year and it was failure all along:( I tried sprouting from seeds, with broken seeds(used coffee grinder, mortar-pestle to name a few ways to making them to coarse form). Sorry for going away from topic Indira!

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Karthi.
    Basil like all herbs, is acquired taste. Keep it minimum for the first try, otherwise, you’d have to throw away the entire sauce. For my first time, I used lots of basil and the sauce tasted terrible. We couldn’t eat at all. That’s how I learned my lesson, not to overdo.:)
    You are always welcome to chipin Karthi. Yes, I know, cilantro is tough to grow in a container.

    Comment by Karthi Kannan — June 13, 2006 @ 8:27 pm

  11. Hi Indira,
    must be a co-incidence :)…we both used basil from our plants today. Your pasta looks good.

    Indira replies:
    and your stuffed tomatoes look adorable, all red and stuffed up. 🙂

    Comment by Nabeela — June 13, 2006 @ 10:35 pm

  12. Hi Indira

    I have u tagged for a meme :

    Indira replies:
    A meme, about moms cooking. Wow, thanks Revathi, I’ll play.

    Comment by Revathi — June 14, 2006 @ 12:48 am

  13. Basil looks so good. So fresh and green !! Your recipe for pesto is a must-try.

    Indira replies:
    Thanks Krithika, it’s all because of plenty of Sunlight.:)

    Comment by Krithika — June 14, 2006 @ 8:18 am

  14. I must agree about the price herbs lately. Even at the cheaper grocery stores, the prices are exorbitant. But it makes for a good excuse to grow one’s own, which is usually superior in quality anyway.

    Comment by Evil Jonny — June 14, 2006 @ 9:55 am

  15. Hi Indira,
    Your basil looks sooo good, I think I can smell it through the monitor. Pestos generally have a ton of oil in them, but your pesto is a more healthier version.

    Comment by Pavani — June 14, 2006 @ 11:00 am

  16. I am not a very keen on growing greens, but i should say you are a great inspiration for many Indira. Though i feel like contributing something for LG’s GBP, this hot summer in Doha would not allow me. Moreover, i absolutely have no idea, what green can be grown in this region during summer… i dont think anything can survive at 50 odd temperature.

    Comment by Aparna — June 14, 2006 @ 11:01 am

  17. Hi, Looks gorgeous. i planted the podhina, but it didn’t grow, it dried. what is the best method to plant the podhina. what soil ,seed we should use, brand name please. thanks.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 14, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

  18. Hey Indira,
    This looks really fabulous. I have bought my first pot to start growing cilantro, I hope it works!
    I wanted to congratulate you on being an innovative cook and it appears after reading your blog for so long that you are a great homemaker too. I have a blog too though not about food… , if you ever feel like dropping.

    Comment by sandhya — June 14, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

  19. Indira; it looks like the Florida rains will miss us completely…sigh.

    Maybe this will be a lesson to Ben: helmuts aren’t stupid, riding *without* one is! I was not happy when Pennsylvania repealed the motorcycle helmut law, thinking it would only lead to disaster.

    Looks like I’ve been proved right!

    Comment by Stephanie — June 14, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  20. I love pesto, and make it a couple times a week in the spring, summer and fall. We never get tired of it, either. It is pretty amazing that we can eat that sauce over and over and never get tired of it, even if I make very few variations on it!

    Comment by Barbara — June 14, 2006 @ 3:21 pm

  21. What gorgeous pictures!!

    Comment by sher — June 14, 2006 @ 8:29 pm

  22. Hi
    I love your website. And all your fabulous recipes. I am a closet cook – hate the labour but love the outcome! This pasta looks amazing.

    Comment by TheIndianExpat — June 15, 2006 @ 1:01 am

  23. Indira,
    I make my pesto too, more or less the same as what you did. Yes, a bit of peanut oil is even nicer! Indira, beautiful job!

    Comment by gattina — June 15, 2006 @ 8:51 am

  24. Thank you my lady! Thank you so much! I like the way the basil plants are lazily flowing down from your pot.

    How are the tomato plants doing?

    Comment by L.G — June 15, 2006 @ 9:22 am

  25. Indira,
    You are very creative with your receipes and Your blog is woderful. Not to forget beautiful pictures.

    Its good that you stay home and find time for your passion. Lots of us do not have that simply like me with a full time job and an adorable little girl, time flies between those two 🙂

    Comment by Priti — June 15, 2006 @ 11:44 am

  26. I made this recipe yesterday and it came out good. Mine wasn’t as green as yours looked but I think that is because I used too big a tomato. I did not know how much pasta to boil but kind of guessed it, and it worked out alright. Thanks.

    Indira replies:
    I am glad to hear that you tried and liked this recipe, Nithya. Thanks for letting me know, appreciate your input.

    Comment by Nithya — June 25, 2006 @ 10:49 am

  27. Hi, regarding the recipe of basil spinach pasta, the picture shown is mint(podina),not basil. I am a gardner for 6 years in a row, I grow basil and mint in my backyard, Basil is tulasi family. I think somebody is mistaken.

    Comment by Nandini — August 15, 2006 @ 6:03 pm

  28. I grow basil on my terrace here in New York and intend to make pasta a pesto tonight. Thanks to you I’m going to try peanut oil instead of olive oil, or maybe a mixture.

    Comment by Susan — September 23, 2006 @ 9:34 am

  29. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your recipes for Pasta! My husband thinks you can’t cook anything the Indian way..or a different way…I’ll show him how good everything will taste when done differently!!! THANK you very much for your delightfull recipes!

    Comment by Saamaja — March 27, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

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