Homemade pesto is so easy to make. This mild spinach-basil pesto tastes fresh, herbal, and nutty. Toss it with any kind of pasta and enjoy!
Pesto without garlic and pine nuts
This is my favorite green pesto when I’m short on fresh basil but crave something creamy and luxurious. The mix of fresh baby spinach and basil leaves will give you a subtle, not overpowering basil taste, plus it results in a vibrant green pesto. Since basil is a pretty aromatic herb, the spinach mellows the sauce.
While many pesto recipes call for pine nuts, I prefer the flavor of walnuts. In addition, this pesto does not contain any garlic, which can easily dominate the overall taste.
Making green pesto at home
Homemade pesto is so much tastier than store-bought varieties. Plus, you know exactly what it is made of.
This homemade green pesto is very easy to make in a food processor or blender while at the same time seems fancy and gourmet, like from an Italian deli. Pesto-pasta makes for a perfect quick weeknight dinner or a killer date night at home.
Pasta, sandwiches, and dips
How to use pesto? Enjoy it with any kind of pasta like spaghetti, penne, ziti, bow-ties, fettuccine, bucatini, or maccheroncini - like shown here.
This pesto also tastes delicious as a sandwich spread – even better when mixed with some mayo or cream cheese in a 1:1 ratio. You can also use it as pizza topping (thin with some olive oil, if desired), in salad vinaigrettes or as a dip when mixed with some sour cream.
I hope you love this recipe for pasta with spinach-basil pesto. Please leave me a comment and rating if you do!
Spinach-Basil Pesto Pasta
- 8 oz (225 g) maccheroncini or any other pasta
- 1 packed cup (40 g) baby spinach leaves
- ¼ packed cup (10 g) fresh basil leaves
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup (25 g) walnuts, roughly chopped and toasted (raw are fine too, see note)
- ¼ cup (20 g) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 organic lemon, optional
- Bring salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook according to the package instructions, 8-10 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine spinach, basil, olive oil, walnuts, Parmesan, and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture is well blended, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. If you prefer a chunkier pesto, stop processing while it still has some texture.
- Taste, and adjust salt if necessary. If you feel it lacks zing, add a squeeze of lemon juice or some grated lemon zest.
- Drain pasta, but reserve some of the pasta water. Toss pasta with the pesto and add some of the pasta water, if needed. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Awesome! I love this easy green pesto with a mellow taste. What's not to like? I prefer walnuts too 🙂
Tried the green pesto pasta and it was super. Added more walnuts and some cashews to enhance the nutty flavor.
Thank you for th great recipe. used fresh basil from my organic garden. I enjoyed the spinach basil pesto with a pile of fussili pasta and took the leftovers to work the next day.
Can I substitute pine nuts for walnuts?
Sure, that will work nicely! I usually use walnuts for this pesto because I always have them on hand, I like their taste, and they are not as expensive as pine nuts 🙂
Came for something healthy, stayed for the taste! Like
I additionally added a handful of arugula for a slightly bitter taste. Was delicious.
Thx, mille grazie, Larissa
Elza Cahn says
I loved this recipe! It was pretty simple to make and me and my family loved it! The only thing that I added was pine nuts instead of walnuts because I didn't have walnuts! Overall great though.
Woot, woot!! Super good. I am a huge pasta & pesto lover. I'd call myself kind of a 'pesto expert.' The basil and spinach mix tastes actually really well. Never tried this combination before - I don't know why!!
Best green pesto!
Will make it again. I really liked it but my husband wasn't so sure about it lol