Spinach Pesto is a bright and herby sauce that adds flavor to almost any savory dish. It comes together in just a few minutes with a handful of ingredients. Dress up pasta, chicken, or sliders with this versatile recipe and freeze some for later!
Spinach pesto is one of our go-to healthy sauces for weeknight meals because it is both versatile and delicious. Its garlicky, cheesy, and lightly sweet flavor adds the perfect zest! We love it in our Pesto Swiss And Turkey Skillet Sliders, Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Pomodoro, and pasta dishes, like Sausage Pesto Pasta with Rapini and Veggie Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Asparagus.
Our recipe includes a secret tip to make your pesto as bright and fresh as possible. Give it a try and freeze some in ice cubes trays to make for easily meal prep!
About Spinach Pesto
- Taste - The combination of spinach, olive oil, cheese, and pine nuts creates a bright, herby, and richly flavored pesto.
- Texture - The pesto is creamy yet light.
- Effort - All you need to do is add the ingredients to a food processor then blend and enjoy!
- Time - It takes just 7 minutes to whip up this delicious pesto.
- Spinach - Spinach is a mild sweet green that is rich in vitamins, iron, folate and potassium. Use baby spinach leaves if you want your pesto to be slightly sweeter, and a mix of spinach and arugula if you want a peppery flavor.
- Fresh basil - Basil provides an herby freshness to the pesto sauce.
- Parmigiano-reggiano - Parmigiano-reggiano adds a nutty sharpness.
- Pecorino romano - Pecorino adds a savory and tangy accent.
- Walnuts - Raw or toasted walnuts add a nutty flavor and heartiness to the sauce.
- Garlic cloves - Garlic cloves add the quintessential aroma.
- Kosher salt - Salt accentuates the flavors of the pesto.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Olive oil is an emulsifier that brings the sauce together.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Kale pesto - Try our Kale Walnut Pesto recipe with fresh torn kale for an earthy alternative.
- Basil pesto - Our Basil Pesto recipe has a slightly subtler herby flavor.
- Nut free pesto - If you are allergic to nuts or just want to keep fat calories down, you can omit the nuts, or use sunflower seeds instead.
- Parmesan Cheese - You can use grated parmesan cheese if you don't have Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- Spicy - Add freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes for a light spicy kick.
- Lemon Juice - Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or a little bit of lemon zest for extra acidity and brightness.
- Kale - Add a couple cups of kale leaves if you are running low on spinach or want added nutritional value.
- Vegan - Omit the cheese to make this recipe vegan and dairy free.
- Other greens - Use a mix of spinach, arugula, basil, and baby kale for a delicious super food pesto.
- Chill the spinach - Fill a bowl with water and ice, and add the spinach to chill. This step is optional but results in bright green pesto and brings wilted spinach back to life.
- Blend the spinach and cheese - Place spinach and cheese in the food processor container. Pulse until well-blended, about 30 seconds.
- Blend walnuts and garlic - Add in pine nuts and garlic, and blend for 1 minute.
- Blend remaining ingredients - Add in salt and olive oil. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add more olive oil if the pesto is dry and add more salt to taste if necessary.
Pro tip: Use a baking spatula to scrape all of the pesto from the food processor to eliminate food waste.
What to Serve with Spinach Pesto
This gluten free pesto is super versatile sauce that can be enjoyed as a sauce for pasta or chicken or as a spread for burgers and sliders. Whenever we make this pesto, we make enough for the whole week for multiple meals.
Pesto can become bitter if it is mixed in the food processor too long. The olive oil contains bitter tasting polyphenols, which can get squeezed out once over processed.
Yes, basil and spinach make a delightfully herby and leafy pesto.
Yes! While it may be tempting to go with store-bought pesto, homemade spinach pesto is both tastier and healthier. It also only takes 5 minutes to make!
Your pesto is oxidizing which usually occurs while it is stored in the fridge. In order to avoid this, we suggest adding a thin layer of olive oil above the pesto to seal out the air.
Yes, you should rinse off the spinach and dry it before using it. Dry the spinach with a clean towel or spin in a salad spinner to get rid of excess water.
Yes! Pesto ingredients may reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Also note that homemade pesto is typically healthier than store-bought.
This easy spinach pesto can be stored in an air-tight container in your refrigerator up to 3 days. Be sure to add a thin layer of olive oil to seal out the air and prevent the sauce from oxidizing and turning brown. You can also freeze the pesto in an airtight ice cube tray for up to 6 months. When you are ready to enjoy it, let it thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.
- If you store and refrigerate the pesto, be sure to mix it again before using it. The ingredients can separate while stored in the refrigerator.
- For extra nutty flavor, toast the pine nuts before you put them in the food processor.
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- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano
- 3 tablespoon pecorino romano
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Chill the spinach - Fill a bowl with water and ice, and add the spinach to chill. This step is optional but results in bright green pesto and brings wilted spinach back to life.2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- Blend the spinach and cheese - Place spinach and cheese in the food processor container. Pulse until well-blended, about 30 seconds.2 cups fresh spinach leaves, ½ cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano, 3 tablespoon pecorino romano
- Blend walnuts and garlic - Add in pine nuts and garlic, and blend for 1 minute.1 tablespoon pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves
- Blend remaining ingredients - Scrape the sides and add in salt and olive oil. Blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth, about 5 minutes. Add more olive oil if the pesto is dry and add more salt to taste if necessary.½ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Storage - Spinach pesto can be stored in an air-tight container in your refrigerator up to 3 days. Be sure to add a thin layer of olive oil to seal out the air and prevent the sauce from oxidizing and turning brown.
- Freeze - Freeze the pesto in an airtight ice cube tray for up to 6 months. When you are ready to enjoy it, let it thaw in the fridge or at room temperature.
- Mixed greens - This recipe works with spinach, arugula, baby kale, basil, or a mix of all greens.