Spinach Salad with Pesto Dressing and Pistachios

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Approximately 6 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 cup of cherry or pear-shaped tomatoes sliced into quarters or halves

12 Pitted Castelvetrano or Greek olives (optional)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped, toasted pistachios for topping salad


2 cups baby arugula leaves, rinsed and dried

1/3 cup toasted pistachios coarsely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pesto Dressing for Salad

45 tablespoons prepared pesto

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar

1/41/2 teaspoon Rain’s Choice vanilla

1– pinch sugar (optional)

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Using a chef’s knife or sharp paring knife, stack 5 – 10 spinach leaves. Use one hand to carefully hold spinach in place, then slice vertically into thin shreds and place them into the salad bowl. Continue this process until all the spinach has been shredded.

Cut cherry tomatoes and set aside.

Make Pesto

Using a food processor, add arugula and pistachios and pulse several times until pistachios are incorporated with the arugula.

Add the garlic and cheese and pulse several times until the ingredients are well incorporated. Wipe down the sides of the processor with a silicone spatula. Turn the processor on then add olive oil in a slow stream until incorporated. Put the pesto into a small bowl or container and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Pesto Dressing

In another small bowl, whisk together 4 – 5 tablespoons of pesto, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, sherry wine vinegar, vanilla, sugar if using, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust flavors as needed.

Spoon pesto dressing onto spinach slowly, working it into the spinach with a fork until the spinach leaves are well coated. Set any leftover dressing aside.

Add the tomatoes and olives (if using) and toss well. Sprinkle pistachios over the top.