Spinach Pesto is a healthy way to sneak veggies into dinner. It tastes like a rich, indulgent pesto sauce, but it’s really packed with the nutrient power house spinach!
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Everyone knows Basil Pesto. It’s a classic on every Italian and most not Italian menus. You can put it on pasta, use it as a spread on sandwiches, or dollop some onto a cracker with cheese for a delicious and easy party time appetizer.
I adore the classic pesto we all love, but most of the time I don’t use basil. At my house, when I say we’re having pest for dinner it’s almost always made with either kale or spinach.
You can find my recipe for Raw Kale Pesto HERE!
I even make pea pesto with mint, which is the most wonderful sping time pasta. You will want it again and again.
You can find my recipe for Spring Pea Pesto with Basil + Mint HERE!
This recipe for Spinach Pesto has been a long time coming! I’ve been making it for a long time on nights when I just want to give the kids something I’m positive they won’t fight me on.
And they NEVER do.
But little do they know they are getting a ton of spinach, heart healthy nuts, healthy fats in the oil, and garlic which is amazing for your body in so many ways.
I also always serve it on some sort of high protein or vegetable based pasta. They have NO idea just how good for them it is when I serve pesto pasta – Mwahahah!
You can leave the cheese for the classic flavor profile, or just omit it entirely to make it vegan/dairy free! Honestly, I usually do not put cheese in this Spinach Pesto.
You only need six ingredients to make this Spinach Pesto (not counting salt and pepper)! I toasted the pine nuts before making this Spinach Pesto because I wanted to show them a little extra love. But you don’t have to! Just toss them in there as they come, and it will still be crazy good.
Do I have to use olive oil in pesto?
The short answer is NO. You don’t HAVE to do anything you don’t want to when you cook. Cooking is about what YOU like, what YOU think is good and what YOU feel like doing.
Cooking is really the only place in my life I feel the freedom to just be creative despite what anyone else has said about the way things should be done. Maybe that worked for them, and maybe it doesn’t for me. That’s okay!
With that said, olive oil is classic in a pesto. You use really good olive oil because pesto doesn’t get cooked, and you want all of the flavors to be at their best as they are.
However, in Spinach Pesto I think olive oil overpowers the delicate flavor of spinach. So, in this recipe I have used grape seed oil.
What is grape seed oil?
Grape seed oil is just what is sounds like – oil extracted from the seeds of grapes.
It’s an excellent substitute for olive oil when cooking because of its ability to stand up to high temperatures very well. It has a very low smoking point, meaning you can use it to sear things off at high temperatures without worrying that you’re burning the oil.
Bon Appetit listed it as one of the 3 healthiest oils for you, along with walnut oil and avocado oil, both of which would be great substitutes for grape seed oil in this Spinach Pesto recipe.
Grape seed oil is very high in polyunsaturated fats and vitamin E, and it lets other flavors shine (like the humble spinach) because it is virtually flavorless.
I often find myself with fresh spinach that I don’t have plans for, but I don’t want it to go bad, which spinach does so quickly.
When that happens, whip up this Spinach Pesto recipe and either use it then, or freeze it in ice cube strays. You can then pop out the frozen pesto cubes and keep in a freezer safe container or zip top bag to defrost and use when you need a last minute dinner!
If you want to be really old timey, you can use a giant mortar and pestle to make this pesto, but that takes some serious time and muscles. So, if you are living in the modern world like I am, use your food processor or blender to make it. Just be careful with your blender! You won’t want a smooth puree – you want texture.
If using a blender, make sure you pulse until you’ve reached the desired consistency. This will stop it from blending your pesto it a pesto smoothie fit for a straw!
How can you use Spinach Pesto? Here are some ideas!
– Keto Stuffed Mushrooms with Artichoke Pesto (just sub spinach pesto!)
– One Pan Pesto Chicken + Veggies
– Avocado Pesto Grilled Cheese
– Caprese with Pesto
– Easy Pesto Lasagna Roll Ups