This Spinach Pesto recipe will change the way you think about pesto sauce! It includes baby spinach, basil, walnuts and lemon juice for a delicious twist on the classic. It’s great for meal prep and it comes together in minutes!

Spinach pesto in a jar with olive oil on top

We’ve all got back pocket recipes that we can throw together with what we have on hand, and mine is pesto sauce. Once you learn how to make pesto sauce, you’ll realize very quickly that it can be made with a wide variety of greens, herbs, nuts and cheese.

There’s so much more than classic basil pesto sauce. I prepare carrot top pesto and this Spinach Pesto recipe much more often because I have the ingredients on hand often and basil isn’t always in season.

This recipe is special to me because I created it during one of my practical exams in cooking school.   We were allowed to choose two types of produce and create a composed dish with them.  I chose butternut squash and spinach, and made this beautiful butternut squash galette topped with pesto.  

My instructor loved it, and I’ve been making it ever since. πŸ™‚

Spinach walnut pesto in a jar with a spoon alongside

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Spinach walnut pesto is a delicious twist on classic pesto sauce with a combination of baby spinach, basil, walnuts and lemon.
  • The spinach makes it extra nutritious, and the basil may be omitted altogether if you don’t have any on hand.
  • It pairs nicely with seafood, pasta, chicken and vegetarian recipes.
  • It can be made in advance and enjoyed throughout the week, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Recipe ingredients

There are only 7 ingredients in this spinach basil pesto, most of which may be substituted with what you have on hand.

Spinach pesto ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Spinach. Be sure to use fresh baby spinach for best results.
  • Basil. If you don’t have basil on hand, omit it altogether or substitute with your favorite herbs or greens.
  • Lemon. Be sure to use fresh lemon juice — it really makes the flavors pop!
  • Parmesan. If possible, buy a block of parmesan and shred it yourself as it delivers a fresher flavor.
  • Walnuts. Toasting the nuts enhances their flavor and adds a lovely texture and flavor to the spinach pesto. The walnuts may be substituted with your favorite nuts or seeds.

How to make this recipe

Making homemade spinach pesto sauce is as easy as adding the ingredients to a food processor and blending them until smooth.

Pro tip: Prepare it up to 2-3 days to make meal prep go even more quickly during the week!

How to make spinach pesto collage
  1. Place the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Place the spinach, garlic, lemon zest and juice, walnuts, and parmesan into the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until roughly chopped.
  3. With the processor running, add the oil through the feed tube and process until it reaches the desired consistency. Taste, then and add salt and pepper, and process once more.

FAQs

Can I prep this recipe in advance?

This spinach pesto recipe may be prepped in advance as it keeps for a a week in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Β It’s also freezer friendly! Β 

How long can fresh pesto last in the fridge?

Homemade pesto sauce will keep for up to one week in the fridge, or it will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.

What can I use instead of pine nuts in pesto?

Pine nuts are very expensive, so the good news is that you can substitute them with any nuts or seeds when you’re making homemade pesto sauce! My favorites are walnuts, almonds, pepitas or sunflower seeds.

Serving suggestions

One of the best things about this spinach walnut pesto is its versatility. I love prepping a batch on the weekend to use a number of ways during the week!

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip: Prepare the spinach pesto up to 2-3 days in advance and store for up to a week in the refrigerator.
  • This sauce freezes well! You can store it all in one airtight container or place it in an ice cube tray wrapped tightly with foil and plastic and pop out however much you need at a time and thaw.
  • The basil may be substituted with the same amount of spinach or your favorite herbs or greens.
  • If you prefer a thinner pesto sauce, simply add 1-2 more tablespoons of oil.
Spinach pesto in a jar with lemon, walnuts and basil alongside

More pesto recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Spinach pesto in a jar with olive oil on top

Spinach Pesto Recipe

This Spinach Pesto Recipe is a delicious twist on classic pesto sauce! It includes baby spinach, walnuts and lemon juice, and is great tossed with pasta, spread on sandwiches and drizzled over meat and veggies. It's so easy to make and is great for meal prep!
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for 8-10 minutes or until golden and fragrant.
  • Place the spinach, basil leaves, garlic, lemon zest and juice, walnuts, and parmesan into the bowl of a food processor.
  • With the processor running, add the oil through the feed tube and process until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Taste, then add salt and pepper to taste and process until combined. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip: Prepare the spinach pesto up to 2-3 days in advance and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
  • This sauce freezes well! You can store it all in one airtight container or place it in an ice cube tray wrapped tightly with foil and plastic and pop out however much you need at a time and thaw.
  • The basil may be substituted with the same amount of spinach or your favorite herbs or greens.
  • If you prefer a thinner pesto sauce, simply add 1-2 more tablespoons of oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons, Calories: 81kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 157mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

**This recipe was originally published in May 2015. I’ve updated the photos, added step by step instructions and modified the text to include more recipe information.

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