Spinach Pesto

I’ve never been a giant pesto fan.  I know…crazy right?  Everyone loves pesto.  I like it well enough, I’ve just never been that person adding pesto to anything and everything.  And I’ve never made it before.

But, then I discovered that you can make pesto with many many things other than basil.  Which is great, because I am completely incapable of growing basil.  For some reason it will never grow for me, even when I buy the plants that are well started instead of just planting seeds.  It still dies.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with it.  Isn’t basil supposed to be one of those plants that is easy to grow?

But then, I can’t grow zucchini either, which is just completely baffling to me.  It’s only the most prolific plant ever.  Not in my garden.  In my garden it generally produces one (or three if I’m really lucky!) tiny little zucchini, and then it inexplicably dies.  Every. single. year.   So irritating.


Spinach Pesto


I’m not giving up hope yet though.  I have basil and zucchini seeds started on the windowsill already, and after (several) tries they even started to grow for us.  So with any luck at all maybe we’ll get both in the garden this year.  Although I’m not really crossing my fingers!

At any rate, I can’t grow basil, so I’m definitely not harvesting boatloads of the stuff to make pesto with.  And it generally seems to cost an arm and a leg to buy enough of the fresh stuff to make pesto.  So my new favourite thing happened when I discovered that you don’t need basil to make pesto!!


Spinach Pesto


So I made spinach pesto – because I love spinach, I can grow spinach, and spinach is nice and cheap to buy by the truckload.  We have lots of spinach pesto in the freezer right now.  And I am now that person that wants to put pesto on anything and everything!  Plus, it’s so incredibly easy to make, and freezes so well, that I am now very excited to make pesto out of all the green things I can find.

I’ll try not to start throwing tons of pesto recipes at you now that I’ve joined the rest of the world in loving it.  It only took me about 10 years (maybe 15?).  I like to join trends late.  That’s okay, better late than never right?


Spinach Pesto




Spinach Pesto

Yield: 1 1/2 cups pesto

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2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, packed
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
6 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes until fragrant. Let cool.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the spinach, pecans, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice and zest, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pulse a few times to combine everything. With the processor running, drizzle in the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil until the pesto is well combined.
  3. Use immediately or portion it into an ice cube tray to freeze to use later. Once it’s frozen you can pop out the pesto cubes and store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer until you’re ready to use them, up to 3 months.


Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen .


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    • stacey says

      haha, I suppose it was! Look at me posting something green on Earth day completely by accident. Nice when that works out! :) Thanks Mira, and thanks for pinning!

    • stacey says

      Yeah, I didn’t have any pine nuts, and am not the biggest fan of them anyways. But pecans I love and had lots of so in they went! Thanks Erin!

    • stacey says

      Haha, well I think basil IS supposed to be easy to grow! I just can’t for whatever reason. :) Thanks Kelly!

  1. says

    I actually feel the same way! I’ll eat regular pesto but I much prefer it when it’s made mostly with something else! Like spinach! This looks fantastic – plus, how can you resist that green color!

    • stacey says

      I know right? So bright! I didn’t even mess with the colour in editing, it was already so bright green! Thanks Ashley!

    • stacey says

      Thanks Ashley! It’s funny, I actually don’t have a lot of trouble growing most things, but the easy stuff like basil and zucchini just won’t grow for me. :( I don’t know why. Oh well. I can buy it!

    • stacey says

      Thanks Gayle! The colour surprised me a little actually, it was so bright! Didn’t even touch the saturation on those photos! :) Thanks for pinning!


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