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Spinach basil pesto recipe

Spinach basil pesto recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Sauce

This sauce is delicious over pasta or you can add a dollop to soup. If you plan on freezing it, don't add the cheese until you're ready to serve it. I freeze it in an ice cube trays and just defrost as many cubes as I need each time.

400 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 12 frozen cubes pesto

  • 50g fresh spinach leaves
  • 30g fresh basil leaves
  • 70g toasted pine nuts
  • 40g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 120ml extra-virgin olive oil

MethodPrep:20min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(494)

Reviews in English (343)

by Valentine de Villefort

How delicious! I have never made pesto sauce before, so this was my first attempt and it was exquisite! Finding at the last minute that I did not have pine nuts, I looked up on the internet to find a suitable substitute, and finding almonds were appropriate (and I had them) I used almonds. They cut up beautifully in the food processor and I have some left over which I am going to freeze for another treat some summer evening! I highly recommend it!-11 Aug 2009


This was fantastic! This was my first attempt at homemade pesto, and I will never be buying that nasty stuff in jar again. It is so fresh and all the flavors come together beautifully. I used 3 cloves of garlic because of previous reviews, but I don't think the extra clove would have been too much. I guess it depends on the strength of your garlic. I also used fresh parmesan, which I think is crucial to the taste of the pesto. I served it with gnocchi and shrimp. I don't have ice cube trays, so I divided the leftovers into little pesto "cookies" on waxed paper, put them in the freezer and then wrapped the frozen pesto in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag.-10 Mar 2010

Spinach-Basil Pesto

This pesto if very simple, and its mild, herbaceous flavor makes it the ideal companion for just about any of the meatballs. While many pesto recipes call for pine nuts, we prefer the flavor (and lower price) of walnuts. Try finely chopping them and adding them right at the end for a nice, crunchy texture. We also love this as a healthy party dip, especially because it has no raw garlic—your guests will thank you too! Just cut up some carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and celery and you're ready to go. You can swap arugula for spinach if you prefer. Pesto freezes well and will keep for up to three months in the freezer.

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About snfd

Kim and Lauren are the mother-daughter team behind Something New For Dinner. Kim develops the recipes, shoots the photography and writes the posts and weekly emails to our subscribers. Lauren is the Internet marketing guru who developed and maintains our website, leads our marketing efforts, manages our social media and keeps us on track in general.

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Giada's Classic Pesto

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  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus m ore to taste
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese



Tried this recipe? Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!

The most basic, most traditional pesto is this basil-based one that was invented in Genoa, in northern Italy it’s bright green and wonderfully aromatic. Be sure to add your oil slowly, so that the sauce fully emulsifies – that is, all the ingredients bind together, creating a thick, uniform consistency.

Lots of basil varieties are available, some sweeter, some spicier, and in fact basil is an important ingredient in the cooking of southeast Asia, especially in curries. Each variety will impart its unique flavor to a pesto, so be adventurous, and try whatever type appeals to you. Just remember: you need a lot of it, and it should be fresh and crisp, not wilted or soggy.

The secret to making pesto into a great pasta dressing is to get the sauce to the right consistency. Fresh from the food processor, pestos are usually too thick to coat pastas you’ll just end up with mounds of the sauce amid a lot of undressed noodles. You need to mix in just enough of the pasta cooking liquid to coat the pasta, but not so much that you’ve created pesto soup.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shallots, minced
  • 1 pound spinach, stemmed and washed
  • 1 bunch basil, stemmed (4 to 5 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 pounds fettuccine

In small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, submerge spinach and basil in a large pot of simmering salted water drain immediately. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible transfer spinach and basil to a food processor.

Add shallots, ricotta, Parmesan, and nutmeg season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process until smooth.

Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with spinach sauce thin with pasta water, as needed. Serve with extra grated Parmesan, if desired.

Basil Spinach Pesto

Can we talk about pesto? Are you guys as obsessed as I am? I am total pesto hoarder. I put it on EVERYTHING. I use it on fish, throw it on chicken, toss it with some pasta, slather it on some toast with avocado… basically the possibilites are endless.

Here’s something else, sometimes I get way lazy and buy it pre-made from the store. Why? Why do I do such a thing? Because when I get home and start to eat it by the spoonful, I’m always disappointed. It’s never garlicky enough and it sometimes lacks a fresh flavor. And then I think to myself, Gaby you can’t be bothered to throw 5 ingredients in the blender or food processor and then press a button?

So last weekend, in the middle of one of my marathon cooking extravaganzas, I whipped up a massive batch of pesto. Basil Spinach Pesto to be exact. You can’t really even taste the spinach, but it gives the pesto such a BRIGHT green color, more so that when you just use basil, so you totally need it. Plus it’s a super food, so chalk one up for that. I sized down my recipe for you guys… but let’s just say I have about 1 pint worth of pesto in various containers in my fridge and freezer. This way, I will have freshly made Basil Spinach Pesto on hand for at least the next few weeks.

These kinds of things make me happy. And I’m pretty sure it’s going to make you happy too. Plus it’s green… so if you’re celebrating St. Patricks Day this weekend and need something green, just make this and throw it on top of basically anything (except maybe desserts). I’d recommend throwing it into some mashed potatoes with extra parmesan cheese.

Homemade Pesto Recipe

This easy basil pesto can come together in just minutes, and the food processor does most of the work!

Never had it before and wondering what it tastes like? It tastes incredibly herby (think strong basil flavor), very fresh, and has quite noticeable garlic undertones. Hints of cheese shine through and the nuts and olive oil more so add body and richness.

This vibrant and beautiful sauce is one of the most flavorful things you’ll ever make and eat, yet it uses just a handful of ingredients.

This traditional Italian recipe is a must in your recipe book! And there are countless ways you can use this versatile, healthy pesto.

Pesto Penne with Spinach & Blistered Tomatoes

This simple, 20 minute gluten-free meal tastes like Summer and is a total crowd pleaser!

Easy, Nourishing and DELISH!

New!I’ve added a cooking video to this page so you can see how easy it is to make this gluten-free Pesto Penne with Blistered Tomatoes & Spinach.

If you’re new to this website, as with all my recipes, there is a printable recipe with exact measurements and directions at the bottom of this page.

Update August 2020: This pasta is never better than right now with Summer basil and tomatoes! Enjoy!

Update May 2020: Warm weather is finally here and we are still staying home, so, like many of you, we are looking for fresh, warm weather meals that are EASY!

This Gluten-Free Pesto Penne with Blistered Tomatoes and Spinach checks all the boxes!

It comes together in 20 minutes, is super simple and delish!

Tonight I made it without spinach because I didn’t have any in the house and it was still so good!

And this is the kind of meal that gets better and better all summer long as the produce gets fresher and fresher.

Hope you love it as much as we do!

This super quick and easy pasta dish is bursting with the flavors of Summer!

All you need is Gluten-free Pasta, Homemade Basil Pesto, fresh Baby Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes.

This simple dish comes together in 20 minutes.

You simply cook the pasta, make the basil pesto and saute the tomatoes while the pasta is cooking, and then after draining the pasta, toss the cooked pasta, pesto, spinach and tomatoes all in the same pan as the tomatoes or back into the pasta pot and toss until the spinach wilts.

For the basil pesto, our favorite simple recipe is below (as well as a vegan nut-free pesto below) or you can use a store bought one.

But the main reason we first made this recipe was because our garden was bursting with basil and this is a delicious way to use it!

We now make it all the time with store-bought basil and it is still so yummy!

The basil pesto recipe shown here is made with 8 ingredients: fresh basil, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, extra virgin olive oil, raw unsalted almonds, garlic cloves, rice wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Using a food processor (we’ve had a basic Cuisanart – Amazon affiliate link forever and it’s great for this!), pulse the basil, garlic and almonds a few seconds to get them break down a bit.

It will smell amazing immediately! And the almonds give it a little texture which is so satisfying!

Then add the salt and pepper and pulse again.

Pro tip: Scrape down the sides to make sure it’s all blended well.

Next, add in the Parmesan cheese and with the food processor running stream in the oil.

Pulse in the rice wine vinegar (just a touch but adds a nice brightness!) and your done!

The pesto smells amazing and tastes even better! I could literally eat it by the spoonful!

I tend to make the pesto in the 10 minutes the tomatoes saute and pasta cooks, so the dish comes together really quickly!

You could also make the pesto ahead of time.

Together, this pesto with the pasta, spinach and blistered tomatoes is packed with flavor and delicious!

Hope you love it as much as we do!

Scroll down for recipe and leave a comment if you try.

    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Fill a large stockpot three-quarters full with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
    3. Meanwhile, spread out the walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 12 minutes, giving them a shake after 6 minutes. Continue roasting until golden brown and toasted. Set aside and allow to cool thoroughly.
    4. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water, and set it close to the sink.
    5. Dump the spinach and basil into the boiling water and stir. After 1 minute, strain the greens, and plunge them into the bowl with ice water. Drain the greens again and squeeze them tightly to get as much water out as possible. Chop the greens roughly.
    6. Combine the greens and walnuts with the salt, olive oil, and Parmesan in a food processor and process until a smooth consistency is reached. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired.

    Reprinted with permission from The Meatball Shop Cookbook by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow with Lauren Deen. Copyright © 2011 by Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow photographs copyright © 2011 by John Kernick. Published by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.

    Daniel Holzman is executive chef at The Meatball Shop. He is an alum of Le Bernadin, San Francisco's Fifth Floor, and Aqua, among other highly acclaimed restaurants. He attended the Culinary Institute of America, where he received a full scholarship from the James Beard Foundation.

    Michael Chernow runs the front-of-house operations and the beverage program at The Meatball Shop. He has worked extensively in restaurants in New York and Los Angeles. He is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, where he earned degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management. He and Holzman met as teenagers when they worked together as delivery boys at the New York vegan restaurant Candle Café. Needless to say, the vegan thing didn't really stick.

    Lauren Deen is the author of the New York Times bestselling Cook Yourself Thin series and Kitchen Playdates. She is an Emmy award—and James Beard award— winning television producer and director. She is currently executive producer of food(ography) on the Cooking Channel.

    Spinach Basil Pesto

    This HCG Diet recipe is safe for Phase 2 of the HCG Diet and counts as 1 protein serving, 1 vegetable serving, and all your daily allotment of lemon juice. You are allowed the juice of one lemon per day. If you have already reached that amount of lemon juice, just omit from the recipe.

    This Spinach Basil Pesto side dish is delicious served with seasoned chicken. We hope you like it!

    • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
    • 1 handful fresh basil
    • 3 fresh garlic cloves
    • 1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 fresh lemon,* juiced
    • ¼ tsp oregano
    • ⅛ tsp sea salt
    • ⅛ tsp black pepper
    • 100 grams (3.5 ounces) boneless, skinless chicken breast
    • HCG Diet approved seasoning**

    Place the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, sea salt and pepper into a small bowl. Stir or whisk until well combined, set aside.

    Place the spinach, fresh basil, and garlic cloves into a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to chop.

    Slowly add the vinegar and lemon juice mixture in a constant stream while the food processor or blender is running.

    Stop and scrape the edges of the container to get all pesto mixture towards the bottom.

    Pulse a few more times until it becomes a paste-like texture.

    Remove from blender or food processor and transfer to a serving dish, set aside.

    Trim any visible fat from the chicken meat. You can season the chicken breast with any HCG Diet approved spices of your choice. We used the Simple Girl Lemon Herb Seasoning, and it tasted amazing!

    After seasoning, bake or grill the chicken breast without the use of any oils or fat. Cook the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

    Place the cooked chicken breast on top of the spinach pesto.

    Season with more sea salt and pepper, if desired.

    *It is important to used freshly squeezed lemon juice over the store-bought lemon juice because it usually contains preservatives that could slow or stall your weight loss. Always buy fresh lemons and squeeze your own lemon juice while on the HCG Diet.

    **Not all spices are safe for Phase 2 of the HCG Diet. Check the ingredients and avoid anything containing sugar, starches, oils, preservatives, and words ending in -ose, -tol, or -dextrin. The Simple Girl Seasonings were created especially for the HCG Diet. They are gluten free, fat free, preservative free, contain no sugar or artificial sweeteners and are sweetened exclusively with HCG Diet approved stevia.