Spinach Pesto

5 from 3 votes
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This garlicky spinach pesto with hints of walnuts and fresh herbs is perfect for spreading on toasty bread or tossing with pasta. Savory parmesan and lemon juice make it just like the real deal!

Creamy spinach pesto in a glass jar.


 

Why You’ll Love This Spinach Pesto Recipe

You’ll never get store-bought pesto again after you see how easy and authentic this homemade version is!

  • Convenient. It lasts for quite a bit, so it’s great for keeping in the fridge when you want to add more flavor to your meals.
  • Quick. This homemade pesto is ready in just 5 minutes.
  • Beginner-friendly. You only need to blend everything together.
  • Versatile. Use it for pasta, sandwiches, steak, and even salads!
Blended spinach pesto in the food processor.

What You’ll Need

Lemon juice and zest help brighten things up. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Baby spinach – You can use regular spinach but remove the stems.
  • Fresh basil – It needs to be green, not purple.
  • Fresh parsley – Choose parsley with bright green leaves and no yellow stems.
  • Walnuts – Feel free to use pine nuts.
  • Parmesan cheese – Make sure it’s freshly-grated, not the kind in a bottle.
  • Garlic – Avoid garlic powder because it’ll make the pesto grainy.
  • Fresh lemon juice – Reduce the amount by half if you use limes.
  • Lemon zest – It needs to be fresh zest.
  • Salt and pepper – Kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper are best.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – This is also referred to as “EVOO.”

How to Make Spinach Pesto

All you need to do is blend! Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Process it. Add all of the ingredients to the food processor. Pulse until completely smooth. Scrape the sides of the food processor as needed.
  • Season and adjust. Add more salt and pepper as needed. Adjust the consistency to taste by adding a bit more olive oil and mixing well. Serve with your favorite pasta and enjoy!

Tips For Success

Blanching the spinach and using roasted garlic are two secrets that only pesto lovers know.

  • Make it spicy. Stir in red pepper flakes or chili oil to taste for a kick of heat.
  • Make it cheesier. Swap half of the parmesan for pecorino cheese. It’s extra sharp and savory, adding great flavor to the sauce.
  • Roast the garlic. Cover an entire garlic bulb with olive oil and wrap it in foil. You want to wrap it completely so that the steam is trapped inside. Pop it into the oven at 400˚F for 30-45 minutes. Unwrap it carefully and let it cool. Squeeze the garlic into the blender as usual for some toasty goodness.
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes. Place 1 to 2 sun-dried tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of their oil in the blender for a tomato-pesto variation.
  • Swap the nuts. Change the walnuts for pecans, almonds, or macadamia nuts. You can also use a mix of nuts.
  • Blanch it. Drop the spinach into a pot of boiling water for 10-20 seconds. Strain it immediately and add the spinach to the blender. This will prevent the pesto from browning.
Jar of creamy, smooth spinach pesto.

Ways to Use Spinach Basil Pesto

Herby spinach pesto with basil and spicy parsley takes on new life depending on what it’s added to. Here are some ideas:

Proper Storage

  • Place it in an airtight container or jar and keep it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This cheesy pesto can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.

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5 from 3 votes

Spinach Pesto

This garlicky spinach peso recipe is ready in 5 minutes and is perfect on bread, chicken, beef, or even pasta.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pine nuts
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper,, to taste
  • cup extra virgin olive oil,, use more or less for desired consistency
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Instructions 

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary.
  • Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
  • If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more olive oil and process until combined.
  • Transfer the spinach pesto to a jar with a lid and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 94mg | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 5.9mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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13 Comments

  1. Kim Donovan says:

    What is the downside of using all spinach without basil and parsley?

  2. margie mcge says:

    How many ounces of fresh spinach did you use for 2 cups?

  3. Marta List says:

    Can this be frozen? Without the cheese? Just the olive oil? Add when thawed the cheese,nuts? It sounds so good, when spinach is ready!

    1. Matt says:

      I freeze all my pestos nuts and cheese included

  4. Jerusha Seal says:

    I made this and added 1 small ripe avocado to the mix. ABSOLUTELY delish. Had it with some leftover shredded lemon chicken and some quartered cherry tomatoes over fettuccine miracle noodles. GREAT!!!!

  5. Melinda Cash says:

    I going to give this recipe a try!

  6. michelle says:

    What is the amount in 1 serving? Thank you.

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Hi!
      That would be 2 tablespoons. I just updated the recipe with the new weight watchers points and serving size. Thank you for letting me know that it was no longer there! 🙂

  7. Laura Dembowski says:

    I’m so glad you are feeling better, Kate! This pesto looks so happy and perfect for spring.

  8. The Steaming Pot says:

    Haven’t made pesto with spinach ever before. Sounds delicious. And your photos are lovely!

  9. Shawn @ I Wash You Dry says:

    Oh man, this looks gorgeous and absolutely delicious!

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      Thanks so much, Shawn! 🙂

  10. Sabrina Modelle says:

    This just looks so perfect, Katerina. I love spinach pesto even more than basil pesto (I know, I know… blasphemy).
    I love the addition of ricotta, too!