Spinach is a wonder food…
Even Popeye knew it back in the 40s and 50’s. It is full of calcium, lutein, and lots of vitamin A.
Truly a powerhouse in nutrition. It’s easy to grow, and is a cold weather veggie, making it perfect for early Spring and late Summer gardens. It’s prolific, and if you cut it back carefully, you’ll have plenty of spinach throughout the season.
I love fresh spinach, especially from the garden, or from our kitchen window in the winter.
When we plant our spinach, we plant TONS of it, and it always seems to be ready at the same time, even if we stagger the planting. After we get our fill of salads and dehydrated spinach powder over everything, we make spinach pesto.
What to Do With Spinach Pesto
This easy to make pesto is delicious, hearty and with a light flavor. Super fast and perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
Not just for noodles, though!
This spinach pesto is great over baked chicken, mixed in with roasted veggies, or on a grilled cheese sandwich. Try this pesto pizza with spinach pesto for another delicious meal idea!
Can You Make Pesto From Spinach?
Move over, basil pesto – there’s a new pesto in town and it’s made from spinach! We know what you’re thinking: can you really make pesto from spinach?
The answer is a resounding yes! Not only can you make pesto from spinach, but there are some delicious benefits to doing so.
The main benefit of making your pesto from spinach instead of basil is that you get more nutritional bang for your buck. Spinach packs in more vitamins and minerals than basil does, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and folic acid.
It contains high levels of protein, low levels of saturated fat, complex carbohydrates, and cholesterol-free sodium.
For those looking to regulate their potassium as well as fiber intake, spinach pesto is an excellent choice. All this without sacrificing taste! Not to mention that it has far fewer calories than traditional pesto recipes.
Another benefit of using spinach in place of basil is that it gives the classic pesto dish a unique flavor. Basil has a sweet aroma while spinach has an earthy taste that pairs perfectly with pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
Plus, adding spinach makes the traditional classic look greener and brighter on the plate – perfect for presentation purposes if you’re serving this dish at parties or potlucks.
Finally, one big benefit of making your own homemade pesto (from either basil or spinach) is that you get to control all the ingredients going into it. That means no preservatives or artificial flavors like many store-bought options contain.
You also have more control over how much salt goes into your recipe – something that should always be taken into consideration when cooking for people with high blood pressure or other health conditions.
What Does Spinach Pesto Taste Like?
Spinach pesto has an intensely fresh and pungent flavor, thanks to the combination of spinach, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
The spinach gives it a slightly bitter edge that is mellowed out by the sweetness of slow-roasted garlic and the nuttiness of the pine nuts.
This pesto will be more robust than traditional basil pesto due to its sharper profile with additional depth provided by Parmesan cheese. Top off your next dish with this tasty green condiment for an unforgettable burst of flavor!
Spinach Pesto Recipe
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves loosely packed; baby spinach is ideal but you can use any kind you'd like
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice or lemon zest
- Begin by washing the spinach leaves or soaking them in a solution of 10% vinegar to water for 10 minutes. Rinse well.
- Add to the food processor or blender.
- Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Add spinach leaves.
- Finely chop garlic and add.
- Add the cheese, salt and pepper and begin to process the mixture.
- While the processor is running, slowly add the olive oil.
- Add the lemon juice, and stir.
- Serve at once over hot pasta, or store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or the freezer for up to 6 months.
Can You Add Other Spices and Herbs to This Pesto?
Absolutely! Once you’ve got your basic spinach pesto recipe down pat, don’t be afraid to experiment with other herbs and spices. Want to add a bit of kick?
Try adding some red pepper flakes or paprika. Or how about some fresh oregano for an Italian twist? The possibilities are endless—just use your imagination!
How to Make Spinach Pesto Without Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are often the star ingredient in many traditional pestos, but fear not—you can easily make spinach pesto without them.
Just substitute walnuts or almonds instead and you’ll still get all the flavor without breaking the bank. If you’re trying to cut down on carbs or want a nut-free pesto, try using pumpkin seeds as a nut-free alternative.
How to Make Vegan Spinach Pesto
Vegan pesto is as easy as 1-2-3! All you need is one cup of fresh spinach, three cloves of garlic, two tablespoons of olive oil (or any other vegetable oil), one teaspoon of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. This dairy-free recipe comes together quickly.
Simply blend these ingredients together until they form a smooth paste. Serve over pasta or veggies for a delicious vegan meal that everyone (vegans and carnivores!) will love.
How to Make Basil Spinach Pesto
Basil spinach pesto is a great way to take your regular pesto up a notch and to combine the best of both worlds – regular pesto with spinach pesto.
To make this version of the dish, simply add one cup of fresh basil leaves when blending your ingredients together. The basil will add an extra zing of flavor that will really bring out the best in your dish.
How Long Does Spinach Pesto Last?
Many people are curious about how long spinach pesto will last in their fridge once it’s made. The answer to this depends on two factors: how you store the pesto, and how quickly you use up the pesto.
If you store it in a sealed container, you can expect spinach pesto to last for three to four days without spoiling. However, if you don’t think that you can eat it all within that time frame, freezing your pesto will allow it to last for up to six months without going bad.
Whether you’re using it right away or saving some for later, spinach pesto is a delicious addition to any meal.
Can You Freeze Spinach Pesto?
Spinach Pesto can be frozen in an ice cube tray to preserve its rich taste. This is an easy way to freeze the pesto and make it easier to serve later.
After pouring the pesto into each individual cube, you simply need to store it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it. A single cube of spinach pesto will contain roughly two tablespoons, perfect for when you only need a small amount of pesto for a single meal.
When freezing spinach pesto, keep in mind that it should not be left inside the ice cube tray for longer than three months or else it might lose flavor, texture, and appearance.
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.