Spinach Basil Pesto is a fresh, vibrant, bold sauce that tastes nutty, slightly herb-y, and slightly grassy. Adapted from the wonderful author and Syndicated Columnist Diane Rossen Worthingon’s recipe in her cookbook “A Taste of Summer” it’s one of my all-time favorite sauces. Why? Because adding spinach to traditional basil pesto gives it a lighter flavor and smoother texture.

Table of Contents
  1. Spinach Basil Pesto – My All-Time Favorite!
  2. Spinach and Basil Pesto Ingredients
  3. How to make Pesto with Spinach and Basil 
  4. How to serve Spinach Pesto
  5. How to store this Spinach Pesto Recipe
  6. Basil and Spinach Pesto FAQs
  7. Spinach Basil Pesto Recipe

Spinach Basil Pesto – My All-Time Favorite!

I have loved the bright, herby, rich Italian sauce called pesto for many years. I particularly love this pesto recipe because the baby spinach makes it a bit lighter and sweeter. And, not only is it delicious, it’s super versatile and can be used in many ways. For a quick, easy dinner simply toss it with cooked angel hair pasta (with a bit of pasta water added) and top with grated Parmesan cheese. It’s also wonderful on pizza, or on crostini with goat cheese and tomatoes.

Spinach and Basil Pesto Ingredients

You only need 8 ingredients to make this impressive spinach pesto recipe:

  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Italian parsley
  • Pine nuts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt

If you don’t like garlic, substitute shallots. And if you don’t like pine nuts, substitute walnuts. You can use Pecorino Romano cheese in place of the Parmesan, too.

How to make Pesto with Spinach and Basil 

Here’s all you need to do to make this luscious pesto sauce:

  1. Toast nuts.
    If not toasted already, toast the pine nuts in a 350 degree oven. Set aside to cool.
  2. Process garlic.
    In a food processor, process the garlic cloves until pureed.
  3. Add basil, spinach, parsley and nuts.
    Add the basil, spinach, parsley and pine nuts and process until finely chopped.
  4. Add oil.
    With the motor running, slowing add the olive oil in a fine stream and process until the oil is absorbed.
  5. Add cheese.
    Add the cheese; process until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

How to serve Spinach Pesto

There are many, many ways to use this Spinach Basil Pesto recipe – on pasta and pizza, in sauces – even in appetizers. Just remember that pesto has a strong flavor, so don’t overdue it when using. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use this pesto sauce:

white bowl holding spinachh basil pesto, garnished with a basil leaf and with spinach and more pesto in the background

How to store this Spinach Pesto Recipe

Pesto should be stored in an airtight container the refrigerator. It’s best to use homemade pesto within 4 to 5 days of preparation. It can also be frozen for up to 2 months – any longer and it will start to lose its flavor.

Basil and Spinach Pesto FAQs

Why is my spinach pesto bitter?

There are a few reasons why your spinach pesto is bitter, the most likely being over processing. Over processed basil will become bitter, as will over processed olive oil. To fix, add a bit more salt or a squeeze of lemon juice.

What does spinach pesto taste like?

Spinach Basil Pesto is a fresh, bright, bold sauce that’s a bit nutty, a bit herb-y, a bit grassy.

Can I use the basil stems in pesto?

Yes, you can use basil stems in this pesto, but I wouldn’t use the spinach stems – they can be bitter.

How long does homemade pesto last?

Refrigerated homemade pesto should be eaten within 4 to 5 days. It will last up to 2 months in the freezer.

Print
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white bowl holding spinachh basil pesto, garnished with a basil leaf and with spinach and more pesto in the background

Spinach Basil Pesto Recipe

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5 from 1 review

This Basil Spinach Pesto Recipe is my all time favorite pesto. It’s adapted from the wonderful author and syndicated columnist Diane Rossen Worthington’s recipe in her cookbook, A Taste of Summer. In addition to being bright, bold and full of flavor, this sauce is also super versatile – serve it on pasta, pizza, with our Smoked Salmon Chopped Salad, or as a flavor enhancer in appetizers.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 1 cup 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 medium to large garlic cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups packed fresh basil leaves (around 1.5 to 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup packed fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, process the garlic cloves until pureed.
  2. Add the basil, spinach, parsley and pine nuts and process until finely chopped.
  3. With the motor running, slowing add the olive oil in a fine stream and process until the oil is absorbed.
  4. Add the cheese; process until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Notes

Make ahead: pesto can be stored for a few weeks, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

  • Author: Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: sauces
  • Method: Food Processor or Blender
  • Cuisine: Iitalian

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white bowl holding spinachh basil pesto, garnished with a basil leaf and with spinach and more pesto in the background

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.


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