Spinach Basil Pesto

Spinach Basil Pesto

This post was originally published on September 9th, 2016 but updated on December 23, 2016.

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I look forward to sharing more recipes here with you. Please feel free to ask questions or leave a comment below.

This is the time of year I miss my mother the most.

I think it’s because she passed away in September several years ago.

There are days that I forget she’s not here. Those times I forget catch me off guard.

Like when I have been at a store focusing on the things I need and it hits me when I notice a woman around my age with her mother-they are there together, laughing or helping each other, or just sharing time with each other. 

Those are the times it stings because I don’t have that anymore.

My youngest child wasn’t born when my mom was alive-they never met.

But this sweet child has an imagination and lately I hear about “my gandma.”

Things like “my gandma has a blue house.” Or, “my gandma lets me paint my toe nails.”

But rather than break down and cry or stop my child, I decided to use these times to talk about my mom to my child. And this brings some joy when I’m sad.

I find one of the best ways to not miss my mom is through cooking.

After all, mom is an influence in my love for cooking. 

spinach pesto ingredients
unmeasured pesto ingredients

Funny thing is we did not cook together growing up-some of that was because I wouldn’t eat meat for many years.  

But she shared tips and her knowledge of cooking with me when I came to her for help after I decided to eat meat again and needed help in the kitchen.


I think one of the hardest parts about learning to cook from my mom was how she measured.

She DIDN’T measure.

Like so many in her generation, she did a lot of her cooking based on visual measurements.

She could tell by looking how much water to add to rice. However, I think I will always measure when I cook rice.

Since ingredients weren’t always measured in exacts, there are times it gets frustrating to try to replicate her meals.

But when I do make a meal and get it right- it smells and taste like she would make- I feel like she’s embraced me with a hug.

My mom could make magic in the kitchen with simple, humble ingredients.

And while we rarely ate Italian growing up, after working in an Italian restaurant, I found I really liked pesto sauce.

I especially love the simplicity and the incredible flavor of a traditional pesto sauce. Did I mention it is SO quick to make? 

There is NO cooking involved for this sauce! Pesto is Quick, Easy & Delicious!


I want my children to eat lots of vegetables, so my recipe is similar to the original sauce but this is my interpretation.

It seemed natural for me to add spinach as the hidden star in place of most of the basil for this sauce.

I believe my recipe taste delicious without losing the consistency and intense flavor of the traditional version. 

I still use the original ingredients of (some) basil, but all the cheese, toasted nuts (almonds or walnuts instead) and olive oil. And I add lots of spinach.

Have you ever made a pesto sauce before?

Have you ever tried making pesto with spinach added? You won’t miss the basil because it’s still there!

This sauce whips up in your blender or food processor.

I use my heavy duty blender for this because it makes it incredibly smooth which is key for hiding spinach in this sauce.

Lots of ways to use a pesto sauce

Pesto is great with pasta but I also use this sauce in a grilled cheese sandwich, or warm grilled chicken sandwich or wrap with roasted veggies, on top of hummus, with baked chicken, homemade pizza…

The options seem endless with using a pesto sauce. 

When I make my pesto sauce, I portion out and freeze leftovers so it is ready for those busy week night meals another time.

Let me know how you use pesto sauce in your kitchen. I’d like to know!

If you make this recipe, snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram or Twitter  #LKBE or #novalkbe. You can find me on Pinterest, too.

And if you haven’t done so already, please subscribe to my blog. You’ll be the first to get my recipes and any tips and tricks I share.

Nova Little Kitchen Big Eats


Spinach Basil Pesto
Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • ½ cup Pecorino Romano cheese freshly grated
  • ¼ cup raw almond or walnuts-dry toasted
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil divided, plus more to finish off your sauce


  1. Place ¼ cup of oil first in heavy duty blender and add the rest of the ingredients listed (you can use a food processor). Start heavy duty blender on its lowest setting. After the blender has pulverized most of the ingredients increase the speed.
  2. Drizzle in the rest of the olive oil as the blender is on and until desired creaminess (I prefer a creamy texture for my children). Finish your pesto with a coating of olive oil which will keep it from turning brown. If you are going to freeze your pesto (I usually freeze a portion of this recipe) do so without the addition of the coating of olive oil.

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