Spinach Pesto

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on July 12, 2012

I love pesto.  I haven’t found any store bought pesto that I really enjoy, but homemade pesto….  I have no words.  It. Is. Amazing.  But sadly, basil plants don’t like me very much.  I haven’t had much success growing enough basil to make pesto, but this year I’m determined.  I’ve been out weeding and babying my basil plants in the heat of the day with the baby in a sling on my chest.  Trust me, you don’t know how uncomfortable that is until you try it.  It’s so uncomfortable that I’m not going to do it again, hah.  But still, my basil is pretty much completely covered in weeds and I’m afraid I wont get much again this year.

As you can tell the light in my kitchen is a bit different, but look at how beautiful that green is!


I do however have lots of spinach.  In fact, I usually have lots of spinach so I’ve started making pesto out of it before it goes bad.  I’ve seen spinach pesto recipes before but never tried it, so when I finally did, I was so impressed!  I did add what little basil I had though.  So it has a hint of that amazing basil flavor that I love so much, without cups and cups of basil.  My son absolutely loved this pesto just on pasta.  He doesn’t mind spinach but it’s nice to add another way to get it into his diet 🙂

As you can see I usually just mix a decent amount in with pasta and some fresh tomatoes, but I have some other things I want to try with it too.  Grilled cheese sandwich with spinach pesto and mozzarella cheese anyone?  My mother-in-law made a kind of bruschetta last year with flatbread and a layer of pesto and a balsamic reduction over the garlicy tomato mixture that I still think about, so that’s on the list too.  What other ways do you like to enjoy pesto?  I think I have enough spinach in my garden for another batch of this, so I need ideas!

Spinach Pesto
Author: Heidi @ Food Doodles
  • 4 C spinach
  • 1 C packed basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 C walnuts
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/3 C good quality extra virgin olive oil more as needed
  1. In a food processor, add the spinach, basil, garlic, cheese, salt, walnuts and lemon juice.
  2. Turn on the food processor and slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto comes together into a fairly smooth sauce. Be sure to stop processing while the pesto still has a little bit of texture to it.
  3. Remove from the food processor and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  4. To store even longer, freeze small or individual portions until ready to use.
Recipe Notes

To make this nut free, try sunflower seeds. They have a different flavor, but taste good too!

This is my go-to recipe for pesto even when I have lots of basil. Feel free to substitute all the spinach for basil or if you're like me, make an even larger batch of pesto with spinach even when you have plenty of basil and freeze it for the winter 🙂




Leave a Comment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiffany April 18, 2013 at 18:40

I made this today!! I tried it with the sunflower seeds like you suggested and its fantastic! I keep opening the jar just to smell it because the aroma is just divine!! I’m gonna put it on everything! Thanks!! 🙂


2 Esther August 26, 2012 at 04:16


I’ve just made the spinach pesto and although I liked it already having followed your recipe, I added some rocket/rucola. Which I love just a much as basil and spinach. I’m all for greens!
And, I have to say, the rocket really gives it just that little more flavour. So, guess what we’ll be eating today!


3 Heather July 25, 2012 at 18:53

I love homemade pesto too! We toss frozen cubes in soup, layer it on pizza, spread it on grilled cheese and in wraps, we can never get enough of it, I also really like to add a bit to plain rice or quinoa straight in the cooking water- so good!


4 Good Food Good Friends July 22, 2012 at 09:00

I love pesto too, but I don’t think I have ever had spinach pesto… but I don’t know why, it sounds delicious!


5 Saree Rentals July 18, 2012 at 11:02

What a great idea to use spinach instead of basil!


6 Jen@TheFitHousewife July 17, 2012 at 16:58

I’ll have to try this since my basil plants can’t keep up with my pesto fetish either 😉


7 The Café Sucré Farine July 13, 2012 at 10:03

I love spinach pesto! I made a yummy salad and also a pizza with this as the base, delicious! Yours looks great on the pasta!


8 Michelle@PeachyPalate July 13, 2012 at 01:03

I’ve lost count of the amount of basil plants I’ve killed! It’s cheaper to buy a plant than a bunch of fresh basil so I go through them at a rapid rate!


9 Kathryn July 13, 2012 at 00:25

I’ll eat pesto with anything although the combination with pasta is one that’s very close to my heart!


10 Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} July 12, 2012 at 21:16

i saw the photo earlier on Facebook and all I could think was pasta. Glad to see we’re on the same page. I love pesto with pasta and love sneaking some spinach in. never made it with so much spinach, but I’m sure it’s delicious!


11 Gomo July 12, 2012 at 18:25

I’ve never tried spinach pesto before. This sounds so healthy and tasty. I will have to try this soon! Thanks!


12 em July 12, 2012 at 16:40

Super excited to make this! We have fresh basil from the garden and spinach and tomatoes from the farmer’s market.


Previous post:

Next post: