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Spinach Pesto Recipe

I’ve been having this spinach pesto recipe under my belt for years but am just now getting to publish it.  It is very simple and extremely tasty.  It’s also cheaper to make than regular pesto because spinach is a lot cheaper than basil and also, I use walnuts instead of pine nuts.

Bowl of Spinach Pesto

Let’s talk a little about the ingredients and method then move on in to the recipe.  As I said, this recipe uses spinach instead of basil but you could also use arugula or kale in this recipe.  Any hearty green would work great.  Something else I like about using spinach is that it doesn’t oxidize like basil leaves do.  This means that the pesto doesn’t turn black within a day or so.  Definitely has a longer shelf life.

Ingredients for Spinach Pesto

I really like the flavor of walnuts in a pesto.  Walnuts are meaty nuts but aren’t super oily.  I definitely recommend toasting them prior to adding them to the pesto.  Toasted nuts have an even better flavor and add another dimension to the taste profile.

Ingredients for Spinach Pesto in the food processor

The rest of the ingredients are fairly standard for pesto:  garlic, salt, Parmesan cheese and olive oil.  If you’re looking to make this vegan, you can leave out the Parmesan cheese.  It really doesn’t make too much of a difference in the texture of the pesto.  You just may need to add a little more salt, but that’s strictly personal taste preference.

Finally, you may notice that I call for the garlic to be roughly chopped prior to setting in the food processor.  I like to at least chop them up like this before processing because I find it leads to a better end product.  If you put whole garlic cloves in the food processor, you’re likely going to be processing the whole pesto longer just to chop up the garlic.  Even though spinach is sturdy, it definitely benefits from spending as little time as possible in the food processor.  Giving a pre-chop both the garlic and walnuts will produce a more homogenous pesto overall.

Spoonful of spinach pesto

I really like the flavor of this pesto quite a bit.  The garlic flavor is prominent without being over-bearing.  I actually tried some five days after I made it, and it was still perfectly flavorful.  A good tip for keeping the pesto as fresh as possible is to set it in a container and press plastic wrap to the surface of the pesto so that the air touching the pesto is minimal.  This will help prevent oxidation and flavor loss and lead to the pesto lasting longer.

So now that you’ve got this great pesto, what should you do with it?  Well, it definitely pairs well with pasta.  I actually have a recipe for spaghetti squash that I am going to publish later this week, and it works really well with it.  This pesto recipe would also work great as a base for a pizza or a spread for a sandwich.  This past weekend we made bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches and used a light smear of this pesto.  YUMMMM! It’s a very versatile product.

Now that you’re hungry, on to the recipe.

Yield: 1 cup

Spinach Pesto Recipe

This quick and easy spinach pesto recipe makes a great addition to pasta, pizza and sandwiches. Use it like you would use a traditional basil pesto.


  • 5 to 7 ounce bag of baby spinach
  • 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil


  1. Combine first five ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Switch on and drizzle olive oil in.
  3. Process just until spinach is puréed.

Keeps well for one week in the refrigerator with plastic wrap covering the surface of the pesto.

Prep:10 min

Total:10 min

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