Pesto is one of those delicious sauces that may seem intimiating to make at home, but in reality, it is super easy. With the price of pine nuts being upwards of $18 or more per pound, finding alternative nuts, and even different greens, is a great way to save some green. See what I did there? This easy spinach pesto recipe uses walnuts in place of pine nuts, and spinach in place of fresh basil. It also happens to provide a lot more nutrients than most pesto recipes that require loads of Parmesean cheese and basil, in place of leafy greens. Most importantly, it tastes amazing!
Pesto is something I always want to order when I’m at an Italian restaurant, but I never do since it’s loaded with cheese. Lately, I’ve been making a lot of pesto at my mother-in-laws house. She is a huge fan of pesto, and lucky for me, she likes when I make it and doesn’t seem to miss the cheese (score!). What this indicates, is that you can make this spinach pesto recipe for the most discerning of pesto eaters and they will likely enjoy it all the same.
Raw Walnuts at Costco are around $5 per pound and do a great job subbing in for it’s Italian cousin, the Pignole (pine nut). Spinach or Kale is a lot less expensive than basil and do a fantastic job in a pesto-like creation. Also, who has fresh basil just laying around in the dead of winter? Not this girl. Kale and/or spinach is far more likely to be in my produce drawer in January or March.
This spinach pesto recipe is super easy to make, inexpensive and delicious! It makes just over 2 cups of pesto, which is more than enough to make a large batch of spinach pesto pasta for the entire family. Store spinach pesto it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in a freezer bag for several months. Just defrost by putting in the refrigerator overnight.
Now, get to work and enjoy your creation!
Spinach pesto recipe with walnuts
- Food Processor
- Cutting Board
- Chef's Knife
- Medium Skillet
- 1.5 Cups Raw Walnuts – Unsalted
- 5 Cups Spinach
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil add enough to make smooth paste
- 1 Small Lemon – Juice from 1 small lemon
- 1 Large Garlic Clove
- 1/4 Tsp Sea Salt To taste
- Wash spinach if not pre-washed and pat dry
- Heat a non-stick pan to a low heat and add walnuts
- Sprinkle walnuts with sea salt and toss with a rubber spatula frequently for around 6-8 minutes. Add a few drizzles of olive oil if desired (this will speed up cooking).
- Once slightly browned, remove from heat and let cool
- Add all ingredients, including the roasted walnuts, to a medium food processor and process until smooth and creamy
- Adjust the amount of olive oil based on your preference
- Add to your favorite pasta dish, mix with cooked quinoa or farro, use as a dip, add to hummus, or spread on warm bread!
Looking for a traditional pesto recipe (without the cheese)? Check this one out!