Peruvian Pesto

About a month ago I made pesto for my family for dinner one night. I mixed it with peppers, onions and sausage. I was quite pleased with the resulting dish. However, sooner after making it my spouse said “do you think you could make Peruvian Pesto for us”. I honestly didn’t know what Peruvian pesto was. So I asked him to describe it. The resulting description was seriously lacking but always persistent he consulted the internet and sent me this recipe. I had no idea this was a thing. I’ve made my fair share of pestos using a variety of herbs and nuts and seasoning. I’d never made anything like this though. But I thought I’d give it a whirl last night because I got a big bag of fresh spinach in the CSA box this week. Upon revisiting the original recipe my spouse decided that he really didn’t want this version because it had green beans and pecans in it. So there was another internet search for a recipe with no green beans and a type of nuts my spouse didn’t find objectionable. The recipe we found involved measurements which were non-US. By which I mean things were weighed and the liquids were in mls. So here is the conversion to the best of my ability


  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves,  diced
  • 200 grams spinach leaves – This was 3 or 4 cups of spinach
  • 3 cups basil leaves
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup queso fresco diced in cubes
  • ¼ cup toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water following the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile saute the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil, at medium heat and stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 10 minutes).
  3. In the blender process onion, garlic, spinach, basil, evaporated milk, white cheese, walnuts, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and reserve ¼ cup of cooking liquid.
  5. Mix pasta with the sauce and reserved cooking liquid. Serve immediately, sprinkled with crumbled queso fresco.

The final product was quite tasty but needed a bit more salt or s sharper cheese to highlight the flavors. Next time I’ll work on making sure the pesto mixture has enough salt in it before I add to the pasta.


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