Food/ Pesto/ Raw Food/ Sauces and Dips

Easy Spinach Pesto with Walnuts Recipe

Pesto is the ultimate sauce – quick, easy, and downright delicious. You can slather it on just about anything! Picture eggs fried up in a pesto paradise, or twirled into fresh pasta, or even sandwiched between layers of bread. Talk about versatility! I’m always experimenting with different greens, using whatever I have on hand to whip up a new batch. Trust me, it’s a game-changer for any dish.

Living on an off-grid farm means everyone’s gardens are bursting with goodies. I’m constantly showered with fresh tomatoes, herbs, greens, carrots, cabbage, and chilis from my farm fam. Recently, I scored a massive haul of spinach, and I just had to put it to good use in this recipe. Let me tell you, it was a flavour explosion! I even filled up some jars to share the pesto love with my fellow farmers. Can’t keep all this goodness to myself!

Spinach pesto in jars

Why you will love this recipe:

  1. Versatility: Spinach pesto adds a burst of flavour to a wide range of dishes, from pasta to sandwiches to grilled meats like steak and chicken, making it a versatile and indispensable condiment in your kitchen arsenal.
  2. Quick and Easy: Whip up a batch of spinach pesto in just 5 minutes flat! Simply blend the ingredients until smooth, and you’re ready to elevate any meal with its vibrant flavour profile.
  3. Nutritious Spinach: Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, spinach adds a nutritious punch to this pesto recipe, boosting the health benefits of any dish it touches. You can feel good about indulging in this delicious sauce!
  4. Convenient Storage: Store any leftover spinach pesto in the fridge for up to ten days, allowing you to enjoy its fresh flavour over multiple meals. Alternatively, freeze it for later use, ensuring you always have a stash of homemade pesto on hand whenever the craving strikes.

Spinach pesto ingredients

What you would need:

  • Spinach – Swap out the traditional basil for fresh spinach, which provides a mild flavour and vibrant green colour. You can also experiment with other leafy greens like kale or arugula for a unique twist. Or you could mix basil and spinach. You can get as creative as you want.
  • Garlic – Add a punch of savoury goodness with fresh garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed, to infuse the pesto with bold flavor.
  • Walnuts – Incorporate walnuts for their mild, nutty taste and satisfying crunch, adding depth of flavour and texture to the spinach pesto.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Enhance the savoury notes of the pesto with grated Parmesan cheese, lending a salty and tangy kick that complements the other ingredients perfectly.
  • Oil – Use high-quality olive oil to achieve a rich and creamy consistency in the spinach pesto, while also helping to bind the ingredients together during blending.
  • Lemon Juice – Brighten up the flavours of the pesto with a splash of fresh lemon juice, adding a touch of citrus acidity that balances out the richness of the other ingredients.
  • Salt and Pepper – Season the pesto to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, enhancing the overall flavour profile and bringing out the natural sweetness of the spinach and nuts.

With these simple yet flavourful ingredients, you’ll have everything you need to whip up a batch of delicious spinach pesto that’s perfect for drizzling over pasta, spreading on sandwiches, or dolloping on grilled meats.

Picking spinach in the garden

 

Health benefits of Spinach and Walnuts in this pesto

By incorporating spinach and walnuts into your pesto, you’re not only adding delicious flavour and texture but also reaping the numerous health benefits that these nutritious ingredients have to offer.

Spinach:

  1. Nutrient-Rich: Spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate, iron, and magnesium, making it a highly nutritious addition to your diet.
  2. Antioxidant Powerhouse: Spinach is loaded with antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
  3. Heart Health: The nitrates found in spinach have been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health, while the high levels of potassium and magnesium may further support heart health by regulating blood pressure and promoting healthy blood flow.
  4. Digestive Health: Spinach is an excellent source of fibre, which helps promote healthy digestion, prevent constipation, and support gut health by feeding beneficial gut bacteria.
  5. Eye Health: The high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in spinach have been linked to a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, helping to protect and maintain healthy vision as you age.

Toasted Walnuts

Walnuts:

  1. Heart Health: Walnuts are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
  2. Brain Health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts are essential for brain health and may help improve cognitive function, memory, and mood, while also reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Antioxidant Properties: Walnuts are packed with antioxidants like vitamin E and polyphenols, which help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body and protect cells from oxidative damage.
  4. Weight Management: Despite being calorie-dense, walnuts may actually help with weight management when consumed as part of a balanced diet, as their combination of protein, fibre, and healthy fats helps promote feelings of fullness and satiety.
  5. Blood Sugar Control: Some studies suggest that walnuts may help improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes, thanks to their unique nutrient profile and beneficial effects on metabolic health.

Recipe Tips

  1. Toast the Walnuts: Before blending, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. This will enhance their nutty flavour and add depth to the pesto.
  2. Blanch the Spinach: If you prefer a milder flavour and brighter green colour, blanch the spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer to an ice bath to cool before using in the pesto.
  3. Customise Flavours: Feel free to experiment with the flavour profile of the pesto by adding ingredients like lemon zest, fresh herbs (such as basil or parsley), or a pinch of red pepper flakes for extra heat.
  4. Adjust Consistency: Depending on your preference, you can adjust the consistency of the pesto by adding more olive oil for a smoother, creamier texture, or reducing the amount for a thicker, chunkier pesto.
  5. Serve Creatively: While pesto is commonly used as a pasta sauce, don’t be afraid to get creative with how you use it! Try spreading it on sandwiches, mixing it into salads or grain bowls, or using it as a dip for crusty bread or vegetables.
  6. Taste and Adjust: Remember to taste the pesto as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed. Add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or Parmesan cheese to suit your taste preferences and ensure a perfectly balanced flavour.

Spinach pesto in jar top view

Variations

With these variations, the possibilities are endless, and you’ll never get bored of enjoying your delicious homemade spinach pesto!

  1. Mix up the greens: Don’t limit yourself to just spinach! Experiment with other leafy greens like arugula, nasturtium leaves, kale, or Swiss chard to create unique flavour combinations.
  2. Try different nuts or seeds: While walnuts are a great choice, don’t hesitate to swap them out for other nuts like almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds or pine nuts for a different taste and texture.
  3. Play with citrus: Instead of lemon juice, consider using lime or orange juice to brighten up the pesto with a tangy twist.
  4. Explore different cheeses: While Parmesan cheese adds a classic flavour, don’t be afraid to experiment with other cheeses like pecorino romano, goat cheese, or feta for a new flavour profile.
  5. Add some heat: Spice things up by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to your spinach pesto for a kick of heat that will liven up any dish.
  6. Get creative with herbs: Mix in additional herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro to add depth and complexity to your pesto, or try blending in some garlic scapes or roasted garlic for extra flavour.

Storage

  1. Store Properly: To keep your pesto fresh, transfer it to an airtight container and drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on top to create a seal. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze in ice cube trays for longer storage.
  2. Make Ahead: Save time by making a batch of pesto ahead of time and storing it in the fridge or freezer until ready to use. It’s a convenient way to add flavour to meals on busy weeknights or when entertaining guests.

Other Quick and Delicious Pesto Recipes:

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Fresh Spinach Pesto Recipe with walnuts or sunflower seeds Pinterest

 

Recipe:

AuthorGypsyCategoryDifficultyBeginner

Spinach pesto is a versatile condiment that adds a burst of flavour to a variety of dishes, from pasta to sandwiches to salads. Experiment with different ingredients and variations to customize the pesto to your taste preferences.

Spinach pesto in jars

Prep Time10 minsTotal Time10 mins

 3 cups Fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried (can also use basil, arugula, carrot tops or any greens!)
  cup Walnuts or Sunflower seeds (or Pine Nuts)
 2 cloves garlic, peeled
 ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
 ½ lemon
 Salt and pepper to taste

1

Toast the nuts (optional): If desired, lightly toast the walnuts / sunflower seeds / pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they are golden brown and fragrant. This will enhance their flavour.

Roasted Sunflower seeds

2

Prepare the spinach and basil: Wash the spinach and basil leaves thoroughly and dry them well using a salad spinner or paper towels. Remove any tough stems from the spinach and basil leaves.

Spinach and green leaves

3

Combine ingredients: In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, basil, toasted nuts (if using), garlic cloves, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Pulse until finely chopped: Pulse the mixture a few times until the ingredients are finely chopped and well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender as needed to ensure even blending.

Add olive oil: With the food processor or blender running, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You may need to add more or less olive oil depending on your preference.

Season to taste: Taste the pesto and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the Parmesan cheese already adds saltiness, so you may not need to add much additional salt.

Spinach pesto ingredients

4

Serve or store: Transfer the spinach pesto to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Alternatively, you can use the pesto immediately by tossing it with cooked pasta, spreading it on sandwiches or wraps, or using it as a sauce for grilled meats or vegetables.

Spinach pesto in jar top view

5

Enjoy: Use the spinach pesto as a flavorful topping or ingredient in your favorite dishes, and enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of this homemade sauce!

Spinach pesto in jars

Ingredients

 3 cups Fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried (can also use basil, arugula, carrot tops or any greens!)
  cup Walnuts or Sunflower seeds (or Pine Nuts)
 2 cloves garlic, peeled
 ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
 ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
 ½ lemon
 Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1

Toast the nuts (optional): If desired, lightly toast the walnuts / sunflower seeds / pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they are golden brown and fragrant. This will enhance their flavour.

Roasted Sunflower seeds

2

Prepare the spinach and basil: Wash the spinach and basil leaves thoroughly and dry them well using a salad spinner or paper towels. Remove any tough stems from the spinach and basil leaves.

Spinach and green leaves

3

Combine ingredients: In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, basil, toasted nuts (if using), garlic cloves, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Pulse until finely chopped: Pulse the mixture a few times until the ingredients are finely chopped and well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender as needed to ensure even blending.

Add olive oil: With the food processor or blender running, slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You may need to add more or less olive oil depending on your preference.

Season to taste: Taste the pesto and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind that the Parmesan cheese already adds saltiness, so you may not need to add much additional salt.

Spinach pesto ingredients

4

Serve or store: Transfer the spinach pesto to a jar or airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Alternatively, you can use the pesto immediately by tossing it with cooked pasta, spreading it on sandwiches or wraps, or using it as a sauce for grilled meats or vegetables.

Spinach pesto in jar top view

5

Enjoy: Use the spinach pesto as a flavorful topping or ingredient in your favorite dishes, and enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of this homemade sauce!

Spinach pesto in jars

Spinach Pesto

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    pedja
    March 25, 2024 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you for this super-healthy recipe with amazing colors and ingredients. I will enjoy this sauce definitely.

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 25, 2024 at 4:06 pm

      Thank you Pedja. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ann
    March 25, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    This looks so delcious and healthy. I do want to try this receipe. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 25, 2024 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks Ann. I love getting creative and making food with what I have in the kitchen. And even just creating a pesto that you can enjoy on everything feels empowering. 🙂

  • Reply
    Debbie
    March 25, 2024 at 7:43 pm

    I’m always eager to try new recipes. This spinach pesto sounds amazing and a healthy option.

  • Reply
    Dana
    March 25, 2024 at 8:34 pm

    This spinach pesto with walnuts recipe looks fabulous! I am a huge fan of pesto and I’m also a vegetarian so this is perfect!

  • Reply
    Kevin Foodie
    March 25, 2024 at 8:36 pm

    Pesto is a great way to add green leafy veggies to any pasta or rice. I have made pesto with sweet basil but not spinach. I will give your recipe a try. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 26, 2024 at 2:21 pm

      Love you mango basil pesto! What a combination.

  • Reply
    Victoria Prasad
    March 26, 2024 at 4:07 am

    This was so much more than a recipe, I learned so much! Great article. I’ll have to give this a try soon!

  • Reply
    Lauren Maker
    March 26, 2024 at 7:36 am

    This is my best type of good! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!

  • Reply
    Smiley
    March 26, 2024 at 9:30 am

    Ah, I like spinach and I like pesto, and I like pasta…so I can imagine having spinach pesto on my pasta:) Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Gypsy
      March 26, 2024 at 2:20 pm

      hahaha, I feel you! 😀

  • Reply
    Vaishali
    March 28, 2024 at 3:34 am

    Loved the recipe…great tips throughout.

  • Leave a Reply