I love how quickly things are starting to green up around our neighborhood—and I really love that our farmer-neighbor has started selling some produce again each week. We’ve been getting our fill of fresh spring greens, including a lot of spinach, and we’ve been eating most of it turned into Spinach Pesto. This is by far the most effective way I’ve found to serve greens to my kids!
Easy Spinach Pesto
We love spinach pesto because it makes for a crazy fast family dinner. Like so quick, it just takes the time to boil the water and cook the pasta. This is one of my daughter’s all-time favorite meals and I love that it’s such a delicious way to pack in so many nutrients. And the pesto comes together while the pasta cooks and all you need to do is drain the pasta and toss with the pesto.
Spinach Pesto Pasta
I serve this spinach pesto with all sorts of pasta, though my oldest daughter loves spaghetti. I usually snip it into smaller pieces with kitchen shears, though sometimes we do practice our pasta twirling!
Nut-Free Pesto Recipe
To make this spinach pesto nut-free, simply use sunflower seeds instead of almonds. I do that often because it’s much less expensive and the flavor is very similar. (I almost never use pine nuts since they are pricey and hard to find where we live.)
Spinach Pesto without Basil
Most of the time, I make this pesto recipe without basil and it’s so good. If you happen to have some basil or you like the flavor, add in a handful! You can also use half baby kale and half spinach, or all kale. It blends up nearly identically and my kids like it both ways.
Frozen Spinach Pesto
I make a ton of spinach and kale pesto each summer and freeze it in zip top freezer bags in 1 cup portions. I flatten the bags and stack them and then they quickly defrost at room temperature whenever I need a quick and nutritious sauce for pasta. We also use the spinach pesto on pizza!Print
This bright green pesto is cheesy and mild, making it a perfect sauce for pasta!
- 12-16 ounces pasta
- 4 cups lightly packed baby spinach
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds or sunflower seeds
- 2 cups frozen peas
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Place the peas into the colander (still frozen) and drain the pasta over the peas. The peas will thaw almost instantly.
- Meanwhile, add the spinach, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan, and almonds or seeds to a blender. Blend very well until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Season to taste with salt. Toss with the pasta and serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
The pesto can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer in a zip top storage bag (pressed flat and with as much air removed as possible) for up to 3 months. This is enough sauce for a pound of pasta or one regular size homemade pizza