Picture this, you go food shopping and decide THIS is the week you are going to be ridiculously healthy. You are walking through the produce section, and that bag of spinach that you know you aren’t going to finish is calling your name. You open the bag over the course of the week, maybe. Before you know it that bag of week old spinach is laughing in your face every time you open that fridge. Once again you let the spinach go bad. I can not tell you how many times this was me (okay, almost every time). I found the solution, Spinach Pesto.
This easy spinach pesto recipe is a little earthier than your standard basil pesto, little less oily, and will use up that entire bag or bunch you promised yourself you would eat. Best part? You can make this pesto ahead of time and store it in your fridge for up to a week. Just pop it in the pan, add pasta and you have yourself a great meal!
WHAT CAN I USE THIS SPINACH PESTO FOR?
Treat this pesto the same you would any other. Below are a few of my favorite ways to use pesto.
- Pasta – That’s an obvious one. Although not mandatory, add a few tbsp of pasta water to thin this pesto, and to add that starchy goodness.
- Spread – This pesto tastes fantastic as a sandwich spread.
- Homemade Pizza
- Add to Eggs – Pesto is a great topping to eggs, better yet fry your eggs in a little pesto. I have a quick and easy pesto egg and prosciutto toast up on IG here!
- Top a Dip
- Protein + Vegetables – Finish cooked chicken, and seafood with pesto or better yet toss those roasted vegetables in a dollop of pesto to add another layer of flavor.
TO COOK OR NOT TO COOK
Traditional basil pesto does not need to be cooked, and while I think this spinach pesto tastes great right out of the food processor I do like to cook it for 2-3 minutes before dropping in the pasta. Cooking the pesto for a few minutes cuts into the raw garlic and earthy spinach flavor, especially if it has been in the fridge for a few days. If you are anti-cook, warm the pesto with a splash of hot pasta water.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED FOR SPINACH PESTO
- Spinach – 14 oz, which is about a whole bag or bunch.
- Pine Nuts – Toast them for a few minutes prior to bring out the nuttiness, let them cool then add them to the food processor.
- Garlic– Fresh only!
- Parmesan Cheese – Get fresh, the powdered stuff in the non-refrigerated section of the super market wont do this justice.
- Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil.
STEP BY STEP
Toast the Nuts– Toasting the pine nuts are critical for bringing out their nutty flavor. In a small pan over low heat add the nuts. Toast until slightly brown, but not burnt, and fragrant, stirring every few seconds. Depending on how low the heat is it should take about 3-5 minutes. Remove the nuts and let them cool down before adding them to the food processor.
Combine the Ingredients – In a food processor pulse the garlic, cooled pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese until finely chopped. Add the basil and spinach and pulse until chopped. Unless you have a giant food processor you will have to add it in sections. Once all ingredients are finely chopped put the food processor on low and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
Storage / Reheating
This spinach pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. I like to store mine in a small pint mason jar. Depending on its end use the pesto can be eaten cold or if putting on pasta put desired amount in a pan for 2-3 minutes on low before tossing in your desired shape. This pesto is on the thicker side so always reserve some pasta water to thin it out if preferred.
Want more pesto? Check out my recipes below!
Broccoli Rabe Pesto (bitter, nutty, yet still bright in flavor)
Rustic Basil Pesto
- Food Processor
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup basil
- 14 oz Spinach 1 package or 3-4 cups
- 1/4 cup olive oil extra virgin
- salt & pepper to taste
- Combine garlic, pine nuts, and cheese in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add in basil and spinach to the food processor. You might need to add in sections depending on how large your food processor is.
- Once all the basil and spinach are finely chopped, turn the food processor on the slowest setting and incorporate the extra virgin olive oil slowly.
- Add salt & pepper to taste. Pesto should be creamy and not swiming in oil.