Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spinach Basil Pesto Pasta

Spinach Basil Pesto Pasta is yet another easy and super delicious Italian dish that can be made in a jiffy. Pesto sauces are very versatile and can be used for pastas or as spread for your pizzas, sandwiches, roll and wraps  They are extremely easy to make - just blend all the ingredients, cook the pasta, mix and you have a delicious meal ready. Plus you can make pesto in bulk since it freezes beautifully. Now who wouldn't like that. 

I've two other type of pesto's on my blog. The basic Basil Pesto and Roasted Tomato and Basil PestoThe Spinach Basil Pesto is quite similar to these just that in addition to the amazing taste you are getting a whole lot of nutritional goodness too (from the Spinach)

I always like my pesto with some tartness hence I prefer adding some tomatoes but this step is completely optional. You can either add Oven Roasted Tomatoes to this Pasta as I did for my Linguine with Pesto Recipe Or saute the tomatoes with some garlic and herbs just until they are soft and juicy as I did for this recipe. You can also add some veggies to this if you like. Saute them in some butter or boil them with you pasta and add. 

My cheese of preference for Pesto is Parmigiano Reggiano but you can also use Pecorino Romano or Parmesan. Basically you can use any cheese as long as its hard, salty and aged. 

Now to the recipe...

For Spinach Basil Pesto : 
2 cups packed spinach leaves (using baby spinach leaves)
1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts roughly chopped  (or pine nuts, almonds, pecans)
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Or Pecorino Romano or Parmesan)

For Pasta:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic finely sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 tsp dry oregano
2 cups of penne pasta (or any pasta of choice)
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dry parsley flakes
red chili flakes (to taste)
1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (Cheese)
salt and pepper to taste


For Spinach Basil Pesto :
Roast the walnuts on low flame till they slightly brown and start releasing some of its oil. Allow to cool. Wash your greens i.e. Spinach and basil and add those along with rest of the ingredients (except Parmigiano Reggiano) to the blender. Blend until smooth. You can blend it till the texture you like. Some like their pesto smooth and some like it coarse. I opted for smooth for this recipe. Remove from the blender into a clean cup/bowl and add the Parmigiano Reggiano to it. Mix well. 

If you don't plan to use the pesto within a day or two I would recommend freezing it. In which case you can skip adding cheese and instead add it when you want to use the pesto. When ready to use, just thaw the pesto, add the cheese and use as required. I usually freeze my pesto in ice cube trays and once set transfer to freezer safe Ziploc bags or containers. 

For the Pasta: 

In a pan heat some oil and add the tomatoes and saute for about 2 mins on medium heat. Then give them a gentle toss and add oregano, salt and pepper, and cook till look soft and juicy and yet retain their shape somewhat. Keep aside. (This step is completely optional)

Add pasta to boiling water that is seasoned with salt and cook as per package instructions till Al dente (approximately 10 -15 mins) or until how soft you like your pasta.  Strain the liquid and transfer the pasta back to the pot. Add a tbsp of butter and give it a good mix. Now add the pesto, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, chilli flakes, dry parsley salt and pepper. Give it a good mix and finally add the Parmigiano Reggiano. Mix until everything is well combined. 


  • Spinach tends to oxidize and change color as soon as it hits the pan of pasta so I would recommend mixing then pesto and pasta only before serving it to retain the color. The color change however doesn't alter the taste. 
  • To make it even more wholesome you can add some veggies to this pasta. Just boil them with pasta or cook them in some butter, salt and pepper and add to the pasta. 
  • You can make this dish vegan too, just skip the cheese. 

That's it, our Spinach Basil Pesto Pasta is ready. Serve with some side of Garlic Bread or on its own topped with some generous sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano(cheese). Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!!


  1. Delicious looking Pasta Shweta.. Loved the spinach pesto too:)

  2. super green pesto pasta...

  3. I need try this right now!!!


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