Simple Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto - a simple recipe made quickly with fresh spinach, toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan.  Delicious tossed with pasta or over grilled chicken.

A bowl of noodles coated with Spinach Pesto next to a small bowl of spinach and a small glass of olive oil

Pesto is one of those foods that can really pack a flavor-punch.  It's made with simple, pure ingredients in just a matter of minutes.  For my simple spinach pesto I use fresh spinach, garlic, olive oil, toasted pine nuts and splash of lemon juice and parmesan cheese.   It's so full of flavor and smells amazing as it comes together!

Spinach Pesto on top of a burger on a bed of spinach leaves, sliced cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes on a plate

Why This Recipe Works

  • Jarred pesto can be purchased in grocery stores but it's so easy to make at home too. Pesto made from scratch is so much more delicious than any store-bought version. Plus, you get to control the ingredient amounts and there are no added preservatives or artificial ingredients.
  • Pesto is an uncooked sauce that is often made from fresh basil leaves or fresh spinach. I almost always have spinach in my refrigerator and homemade pesto is a great way to use up any slightly wilted spinach.
  • Pesto is great when tossed with pasta, spread on sandwiches, used as a topping for a burger or grilled chicken, or even as a dip with chips.  Seriously endless possibilities.

Ingredients

See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • Spinach
  • Pine nuts
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan
  • Salt

How To Make This Recipe

  1. Combine spinach, pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add olive oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Add the parmesan and pulse.
  3. Season with salt to taste.

A bowl of noodles coated with Spinach Pesto next to a small bowl of spinach and a small glass of olive oil

Expert Tips

  • You don't have to use pine nuts in this recipe (although I highly recommend it). Feel free to use walnuts, cashews, almonds, or pecans instead.
  • If you want to make basil pesto, use the same amount of fresh basil instead of spinach.
  • You can add fresh kale, parsley, and cilantro to this recipe if you'd like. Just use the recommended amount of 4 cups total.
  • I use a food processor when I make pesto, but you can also use a blender.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Toast Nuts?

Although you don't have to toast the pine nuts, I urge you to do so. Toasting the nuts deepens their flavor and definitely improves the pesto. Be sure to watch the nuts carefully, they brown easily and can burn quickly.

To toast pine nuts in a skillet:

  1. Heat a pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan.
  3. Add the pine nuts to the pan and heat, stirring until golden, about 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a plate to cool.

How Should I Store Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto?

Store homemade spinach pine nut pesto in a jar covered with a piece of plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator. It will keep well for up to 1 week. Be sure to stir the pesto before using because the oil will rise to the top.

Can You Freeze Pesto?

Yes, you can freeze spinach and pine nut pesto. Just spoon some of the pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze until solid. Then, pop out the frozen pesto cubes and transfer them to a freezer safe container or a freezer bag.

Serving Suggestions

  • Replace pizza sauce: Consider using pesto instead of tomato sauce on homemade pizzas.
  • Spread on a sandwich: Either use as is or mix with a little mayonnaise and spread on french bread, sandwich bread, pita bread or flat bread.
  • Use as a salad dressing: Thin the pesto out a little if you'd like and drizzle over salad greens or chicken salad for a delicious dressing.
  • Enjoy for breakfast: Drizzle a little pesto over scrambled eggs or make a breakfast grilled cheese by layering the bread with cheese, cooked eggs, and plenty of pesto.
  • Mix into dips: Stir pesto into softened cream cheese for a tasty dip to use with vegetables or tortilla chips.
  • Toss with vegetables: Use a bit of pesto to garnish your vegetables.
  • Use with meat: Pesto goes very well with grilled steak, pork chops or even shrimp and fish.
  • Add to pasta: Toss with you favorite pasta to make a delicious pesto pasta.

Keeping it simple, and remembering that "simple is often best".

If you're looking for a small batch of Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto, you can find that recipe as well as many other single serving recipes by visiting our One Dish Kitchen site. 

Simple Spinach Pesto www.zagleft.com

Simple Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto - a simple recipe made quickly with fresh spinach, toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan. Delicious tossed with pasta or over grilled chicken.
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt

Instructions

  • Combine the spinach, pine nuts, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.
  • Add the parmesan and pulse.
  • Season with salt to taste.

Notes

To toast pine nuts in a skillet: Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the pine nuts to the pan and heat, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes; transfer to a plate to cool.

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

About The Author

7 thoughts on “Simple Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto”

  1. I just made this and it tasted so yummy. I added a bit more spinach and lemon juice too. Perfect even without any salt. Very filling too. Thanks for this quick and easy recipe!

  2. this sounds great – I love pesto! simple is often best, I so SO believe that! thank you for sharing your Aunt Gem, sounds truly inspirational!

  3. Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog

    I love pesto with spinach, it’s such a nice flavor and more mild than basil 🙂

    1. I love it too, Sharon. Plus I almost always have spinach in my refrigerator. Thanks for reading.

  4. Jen @ Baked by an Introvert

    I just made a pesto pasta the other night. I used a basil pesto but I bet this spinach pesto would have been delicious. I see another pasta night in my near future!

    1. I love basil pesto too, Jen. Pesto is just so easy to make and all variations taste so good – I can never have it too often! 🙂

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