Easy Spinach Pesto Recipe

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This flavorful spinach pesto is simple to make with budget-friendly ingredients, and it packs spinach into your kids’ meals in a picky-eater friendly way! Try this pesto on whole wheat pasta, chicken, or sandwiches.

fresh spinach pesto in a bowl surrounded by ingredients

Pesto is tasty and nutritious, and there are lots of variations to try beyond traditional basil pesto! Spinach makes a mild, delicious base for pesto that appeals to kids and is budget-friendly, too.

Why We Love Spinach Pesto

  • It’s super nutritious! Spinach is rich in iron and vitamins that kids need to grow and thrive.
  • It tastes mild. Spinach pesto is flavorful without being overpowering, so kids are more likely to say “yum!” when they try it.
  • It’s budget-friendly. This pesto uses spinach in place of basil, and walnuts in place of pine nuts, so it’s an affordable addition to your regular meal rotation.
  • It stays green. Spinach pesto doesn’t oxidize and turn brown as quickly as basil pesto, so you can enjoy bright, fresh-looking pesto for days.

How to Make Spinach Pesto

This delicious spread is simple to make in just minutes with your food processor. Just add all the ingredients to your processor and process until smooth!

If you like a coarsely-ground pesto, process the pesto for a shorter amount of time. If you prefer a finer consistency to your pesto, just keep pureeing until you get to the consistency you like.

We recommend waiting until your pesto is made before adding salt. Parmesan cheese is quite salty on its own, so you may not need much!

spinach, walnuts, and cheese in a  food processor

Ideas for Using Spinach Pesto

Use your pesto to add flavor to all kinds of dishes!

  • Make “Green Goblin Pasta” with a spoonful of pesto stirred in, and extra Parmesan cheese for sprinkling
  • Spread pesto on grilled chicken or pork for a pop of flavor.
  • Use pesto as a sandwich spread.
  • Add a spoonful of pesto to soups for added taste and vitamins.

More Fresh Spinach Recipes to Try

Sweet Spinach Muffins
Sweet Spinach Pancakes
Cheesy One Pot Chicken and Rice with Spinach

Spinach Pesto

Fresh, flavorful pesto is delicious on pasta, chicken, and sandwiches!
2.58 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: pesto, quick and easy, spinach, vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cups fresh spinach packed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a food processor a process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  • Taste the pesto and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately!
Tried this recipe?Mention @SuperHealthyKids or tag #SuperHealthyKids!

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Recipe Rating




48 Comments

My son has low iron and the doctor recommended I feed him spinach, not eating spinach myself I went on a search for recipes. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it was a HIT! I ate it, my 2 year old (who is the one low on iron) ate it and even my VERY picky 4 year old devoured it after convincing him to just try it! Thank you for this recipe!

Just made this for lunch! I substituted a little garlic salt for extra flavor. My daughter and I just loved it- I think I’ll do this with speghetti noodles next time.. At 14 months and 6 teeth the curly noodles didnt soften as much as I would have liked… Despite boiling them forever! Great way to get spinache into her diet!

I’m also wondering if this would taste alright leaving the nuts out? Daycare is nut-free. thanks!

Either spinach is fine @Jamie-
@jenilee and @deborah- you could leave the nuts out, but then it wouldn’t really be pesto.

Also could what could you use to substitute the parm cheese? My daughter is allergic to dairy 🙁 She LOVES pesto (before the allergy) and I’m struggling to find an alternative!

Scratch that- someone on facebook just mentioned they use sunflower seeds in place of nuts! HOpe that helps #jenilee and @deborah

But from what i have read we should avoid diary ( cheese) when we want to have good absorption of iron. So isn’ t the parmesan counterbalancing the iron in spinach?

Georgia, while iron absorption is decreased when consuming spinach with cheese, it is also enhanced by the vitamin C of the spinach. However, healthy kids who eat a varied diet, the amount of iron inhibition is usually not of concern.

Also, many healthy foods contain iron absorption inhibitors.No need to cut these foods out of your child’s diet. Iron absorption in healthy individuals will still happen.

To” hide” spinach, kale or any green vegetable, use beets, you don’t need to cook it or peel it. Just wash it good and add to your mix. I use a Vitamix which I very powerful. Cut only the size of the tip of your thumb. Your smoothie would turn red. Used spinach liquefied in a potato puré and you will get green mash potato.

I tried this for a quick lunch to energize my daughter before swim class…..I added grilled chicken breast and chopped up broccoli, and she loved it! THANKS

Wrong wrong wrong it suppose to be half a plate of vegetables !! The food group is vegetables and fruit. Give more vegetables fruit has sugar in it.
Know more before you post

Another momma asked but didn’t get an answer, we have a dairy allergy, what would be a good sub for the cheese? 🙂 ty

OMG, this was delicious. My son could not get enough of it and kept saying this is the ‘best pesto ever’. Thanks again for this amazing blog. Love love your recipes