This easy Spinach Pesto recipe combines vibrant colors, enticing aromas and a burst of fresh flavors. With both fresh spinach and fresh basil, you will love the bright flavors in this delicious homemade pesto!
About the Recipe
The spinach in this recipe brings a handful of nutrients and antioxidants to your average traditional pesto recipe. It also provides a bit of depth and complexity with its earthy, slightly bitter flavor.
Add that sweet and herbaceous basil, salty parmesan cheese, and a handful of pine nuts and you’ve got the best flavor combination that really can’t be beat! The spinach has a milder flavor, so it's not too overpowering!
You can whip up this spinach pesto with a few simple ingredients on a busy weeknight, when you are hosting a get together with family and friends or pack some on your next summer picnic. You will love the versatility of the pesto and the simplicity in the preparation!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Beautiful - The combination of spinach and basil creates a vibrant green color that will brighten your plate. The freshness it brings to your dishes makes them visually appealing and hard to resist!
Unique - Adding spinach to a classic recipe for pesto is a great way to add a little twist to a traditional basil pesto recipe. The spinach adds a unique and welcomed flavor profile that you might not typically expect to taste in your pesto!.
Versatile - You can use this versatile sauce in a variety of different ways! You can toss it with pasta, spread it on sandwiches or wraps, use it as a dip with fresh veggies, or even as a topper to your favorite soups and stews! This pesto can really elevate a wide range of dishes with its vibrant flavors.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this spinach basil pesto:
- Pine nuts
- Basil - Use fresh basil.
- Spinach - Use fresh spinach.
- Parmesan cheese
- Olive oil - Extra virgin olive oil will be best for this.
- Sea Salt
Let's make this pesto sauce together!
Step 1: In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, basil, spinach, parmesan cheese, and salt. Pulse until fully combined.
Step 2: With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together. Toss with pasta and water to make spinach pesto pasta, or serve on a caprese salad with fresh herbs.
Expert Tips and Tricks
Here are some expert tips to make this homemade spinach pesto:
Taste it - Give the pesto a taste and decide if it needs an additional seasoning. Adding a little more salt can really help to bring out the flavors if it’s tasting a little on the dull side.
Toast the pine nuts - If you wanted, you could toast the pine nuts before adding them to the food processor. This helps to bring out their natural oils and enhances the nutty flavor.
Adjust consistency - As you are blending the ingredients together, monitor the consistency. If it’s too thick, add a bit more olive oil to achieve the desired consistency.
Double the recipe - Double the recipe and freeze some cubes of pesto in an ice cube tray. It's a great way to use up a bag of spinach and also have homemade pesto on hand!
Here is some kitchen equipment you will need for this easy pesto. You can find all of these products on Amazon.
Food processor - This food processor is my favorite and I use it almost every day! It's great quality and you can use it for a variety of recipes.
Pasta - I love this serving this pesto with cavatappi pasta.
Here are some common recipe substitutions and variations for this delicious recipe:
Cheese - You can replace the parmesan cheese with any other hard cheese. Some great options would be pecorino, Romano or Asiago.
Nuts - Instead of pine nuts, try using a different nut like walnuts, almonds, pistachios, or cashews.
Additions - For a bright and refreshing twist, add a touch of lemon zest or a bit of fresh lemon juice. If you want to add a bit of heat, try sprinkling in some crushed red pepper flakes.
Vegan Pesto - Make this pesto vegan by omitting the cheese or using vegan parmesan cheese.
Spinach - You can substitute spinach with fresh baby spinach, kale, or any leafy green. I love making this pesto to reduce food waste, so if you have a cup of spinach and some kale in the fridge, feel free to mix and match!
What To Serve With
Here are some recipes to serve alongside this delicious spinach pesto:
Authentic Pasta Fagioli Recipe - This authentic pasta fagioli recipe is the only one you'll ever need! This super easy soup recipe is done in 30 minutes and only has four steps.
Easy Tuscan Roasted Broccoli - This Easy Tuscan Roasted Broccoli is the best roasted broccoli recipe you'll ever make! This easy side dish recipe is perfect for meal prep or a quick and easy dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions
I really recommend using fresh spinach for this recipe. Frozen spinach would not have the same fresh effect that makes this recipe so delicious!
Yes. Feel free to omit the nuts and make the recipe as is. A great substitute to nuts would be sunflower seeds or or pumpkin seeds to establish a similar texture.
Absolutely. If you do not have a food processor, a blender works just as well. Please note that you may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides to ensure all the ingredients are being blended equally.
Recipe Storage and Reheating
Here are storage and reheating instructions for this simple spinach pesto recipe.
Refrigerator Storage: Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To prevent the pesto from browning, drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the surface before sealing the container. It will keep well for a 4-5 days, but remember that the vibrant green color may fade over time.
Freezer Storage: Freeze in a freezer-safe, airtight container and keep for up to 3 months. When you're ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator.
Other Recipes to Try
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup tightly packed basil
- 3 cups tightly packed spinach
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Combine pine nuts, basil, spinach, parmesan, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined.
- While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle the olive oil until the pesto comes together.
- Use with pasta, on sandwiches, or as a dip.