A recipe for Spinach Walnut Pesto! This sauce comes together in less than 10 minutes for a perfect wintertime alternative to serve with pasta or bread.
This Spinach Walnut Pesto is a great winter variation to the traditional pesto when fresh basil is hard to come by. Spinach, toasted walnuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese are pureed until smooth, then slowly mixed with olive oil. I served the pesto as a spread for bread (add around 1/4 cup olive oil) and thinned a bit more (closer to 3/4 cup olive oil) to coat the pasta.
You can toast the walnuts on the stove or in the oven. I tend to use the stove because it is quicker, but you have to be very careful and keep an eye on it so the walnuts don’t burn. To use the oven, spread the walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 350˚F (180˚C) until fragrant and golden, 5-10 minutes. Allow the toasted walnuts to cool completely to room temperature before adding to the food processor.
The amount of olive oil added for the Spinach Walnut Pesto depends on how thick you want the sauce. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in about 1/4 cup olive oil to make a spread perfect for serving with slices of toasted bread. To coat pasta, slowly drizzle in closer to 3/4 cup olive oil to create a light sauce.
The Spinach Walnut Pesto will last in the refrigerator for about 3 days in an airtight container. Cover the top of the pesto with a light layer of olive oil to avoid exposing it to air and keep that vibrant green color.
Looking for more ways to use spinach?
Spinach Walnut Pesto Recipe
Adapted from My Life Cookbook
Spinach Walnut Pesto
- 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
- 1/3 cup walnuts toasted
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Pasta or bread for serving
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine spinach, toasted walnuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and cheese. Puree until smooth.
- With the food processor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, scraping down the sides as needed, until the pesto has reached the desired consistency. Add more olive oil for a sauce, less for a spread.
- Serve with pasta, bread, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.