This fresh spinach pesto is a delicious, vibrant alternative to the classic basil pesto! The flavor is super similar but a little milder, and a great way to sneak extra veggies into a meal! You can use it in place of regular basil pesto in any recipe!
Why This Recipe Works!
This simple spinach pesto is an incredibly versatile sauce that tastes great on Italian favorites like pasta and pizza, but also makes a delicious dressing for salad!
It's quick, easy and requires minimal ingredients and clean-up!
More fun ways to use this homemade pesto include:
- Spread on roasted chicken and top with cheese.
- Use as a dip for crusty bread or veggies.
- Make a caprese style sandwich with pesto!
- My favorite pesto risotto with toasted pine nuts.
This spinach pesto only uses 7 simple ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and can easily be modified to fit any dietary restrictions!
- Spinach - Fresh spinach is the star of this recipe! You can either use baby spinach or large spinach leaves with the stems removed, I just don't recommend frozen spinach. This pesto would also be delicious with fresh arugula for a more peppery flavor.
- Basil - Fresh, sweet basil is best but if you prefer you can leave it out and just stick to the spinach.
- Olive Oil - Make sure you use high quality, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor!
- Garlic - I am a big garlic lover, so this pesto packs a punch! So if you prefer a milder flavor just reduce the garlic to 1 clove.
- Pine Nuts - If you don’t like pine nuts, you can substitute walnuts, almonds, or pistachios in this pesto for a similar flavor and texture! Or just leave them out entirely if you have a nut allergy!
- Parmesan Cheese - You can substitute your favorite hard Italian cheese. I always use Pecorino Romano if I have it on hand.
- Lemon Juice - You need just a little bit of fresh lemon juice to add some brightness to the spinach pesto.
How to Make Spinach Pesto
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is finely chopped and resembles a thick paste.
If you prefer a thinner pesto, add in more olive oil 1 teaspoon at a time until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
That's it!! In just 5 minutes you have the most delicious spinach basil pesto sauce!
Tips for the Best Pesto
This spinach pesto has a bright, fresh flavor so it's best eaten raw or added at the very end of cooking (for example, toss with cooked pasta just prior to serving).
Pesto will naturally lose its vibrant color overtime, so if you want to keep it bright green you can blanch the spinach and basil prior to blending!
To blanch the spinach, fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add the leaves and blanch for a quick 15 seconds!
Immediately remove the leaves from the boiling water and place in the ice water bath. After a about 10 seconds, remove and squeeze out any excess water, then pat dry.
You can store this pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week!
Absolutely!! Just swap out the cheese for nutritional yeast! You may want to reduce the nutritional yeast to ¼ cup since it has a more concentrated flavor than parmesan.
Yes! I recommend portioning small amounts of the pesto into ice cube trays to freeze. Then remove and store in a freezer bag. Thaw individual pesto cubes at room temperature for about 30 minutes before you want to use it.
Don't worry, this is completely normal! The spinach and basil oxidize and lose color the longer they're exposed to air, but it has not effect on the flavor. But if the color is important to you, see my tips on blanching both first to keep them bright green!
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Recipes You Might Like!
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- 3 cups fresh spinach, packed
- ¼ cup fresh basil, packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup pine nuts, substitute walnuts, almonds, pistachios
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is finely chopped and resembles a thick paste.
- If you prefer a thinner pesto, add in more olive oil 1 teaspoon at a time until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired.
- That's it!! In just 5 minutes you have the most delicious spinach basil pesto sauce!
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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