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Kalyn's Kitchen

Spinach and Basil Pesto (and Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations)

In early summer, make this Spinach and Basil Pesto to stretch out your basil! It’s delicious and it’s low-carb, Keto, low-glycemic, gluten-free, meatless, and South Beach Diet friendly (with portion control)! Use the Fresh Herbs to find more recipes like this one.

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Spinach and Basil Pesto Recipe (and Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations) found on KalynsKitchen.com

One of my favorite things about having a garden is Pesto,  something I make many times every summer.  Pesto is a great way to use and preserve huge bunches of basil, but this Spinach and Basil Pesto is something I make early in the summer when my basil is just starting to come on.  (Later when I have a surplus of basil, I freeze some of the fresh basil for winter and make some into Basil Pesto with Lemon, which I also freeze.)

This double green pesto is delicious on grilled or sauteed vegetables, grilled chicken, fish, or pasta.  Of course, there are as many ways to make pesto as there are cooks who make it; check below to see more interesting pesto variations.

I think the proportions of equal amounts of spinach and basil is great in this recipe, but if you don’t have that many basil plants, you could use less basil. I like my pesto a bit heavy on the cheese and pine nuts compared to some people, but pesto is something that’s always easy to adapt to your own taste so have fun experimenting with this delicious combination.

Spinach and Basil Pesto Recipe (and Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Two cups of packed basil is a big salad spinner full; give the basil is good wash and spin dry. You’ll need 2 packed cups each of basil and spinach leaves. Use the food processor to chop the spinach and basil, stirring a few times as needed to get it going. Then add the garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan and process until it’s well blended. Finally, add the olive oil through the feed tube of the food processor and process until it’s as smooth as you’d like.  That’s it!

Spinach and Basil Pesto Recipe (and Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Make a big batch of pesto on the weekend and eat it things all week long!

Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations to Try:

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Asparagus Pesto with Pasta ~ Simply Recipes
Chard and Garlic Scape Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Beet Pesto ~ A Veggie Venture
Sage-Pecan Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Artichoke Pesto ~ Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Garlic Scape Pesto ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Dandelion Pesto ~ David Lebovitz
Basil, Arugula, Scallion, and Lemon Pesto Sauce ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Broccoli Pesto ~ Family Fresh Cooking

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Spinach and Basil Pesto Recipe (and Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations) found on KalynsKitchen.com

Spinach and Basil Pesto

This Spinach and Basil Pesto is a great way to stretch out your basil.

Ingredients:

  • (Pesto is always made to taste, so feel free to use more or less of any ingredient, whatever appeals to you.) 
  • 2 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves (washed and spun dry or dried with paper towels)
  • 2 T garlic puree or finely minced fresh garlic
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts (more or less to taste)
  • 1 1/3 cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese (more or less to taste)
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (more or less to taste)

Directions:

  1. To make this successfully you’ll need a food processor. There are many good brands, but for many years I’ve used a Cuisinart Food Processor DLC 10. (affiliate link)
  2. Spinach and basil should be washed and dried well.
  3. Put in food processor with steel blade and pulse repeatedly until both are well chopped, stirring a few times as needed.
  4. Add garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan and blend for 2-3 minutes until nuts are finely chopped and mixture is well combined.
  5. With lid on and processor running, drizzle olive oil in through the feed tube until mixture is the consistency you prefer. I don’t like my pesto to be too thick, but if you prefer a thicker texture, you won’t need as much oil.

Notes:

This is good as a sauce on pasta, used as lasagna sauce, or served over vegetables, chicken, or fish. The pesto will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.  You can freeze it, but you probably won’t have any left!

This recipe created by Kalyn when she had fresh basil and spinach in the fridge and a craving for pesto!

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese are all high in fat, but you don’t eat pesto in huge amounts. Eaten over vegetables, chicken, or fish, this would be acceptable for low-carb or low-glycemic diets or any phase of the South Beach Diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:

Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?

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    38 Comments on “Spinach and Basil Pesto (and Ten More Interesting Pesto Variations)”

  1. Looks good and wanna try it with your sautéed zucchini recipe but two cups of basil would cost me a fortune. What else can I replace it with? Would cilantro and spinach work together you think? Thanks.

  2. Oh my goodness me oh my! This was GREAT! I had a bag of spinach in the fridge begging to be used. Our basil in the garden is growing wonderfully right now, but I didn't want to sacrifice too much of the plant. This was the perfect pairing of the two, without using too much of my basil. I used my little 4 cup chopper to make this and it was perfect! The only thing I modified, at the request of my husband, was to add some lemon juice. I eyeballed it, but it was about 2 TBLS. According to him, it keeps the pesto a bright green. I liked the extra zing as well. I served this over GF noodles. Now I've got to decided what to use it on next.

  3. Brand new to the pesto world. But I love the starbucks tomato and mozzarella panini sandwich that calls for spinach basil pesto. So here i go, into the new world of pesto 🙂 wish me luck and thanks for all the advice

  4. Katrina, I agree. Love pesto on so many things.

  5. Just made a half batch of this with my first harvest of basil for the summer. I used walnuts. Mmm! So happy for basil/pesto season!

  6. Eileen, I love arugula, and I have tried it in pesto. I agree, it's a winner! Glad you like this idea too.

  7. I haven't tried pesto with spinach, but I'm definitely going to! I find straight basil pesto to be too "basily"! My favorite is another variation, using arugula and basil. Arugula has a wonderful, nutty flavor and grows pretty easily in the garden. Give it a try!

  8. Thanks Jeanette and Wanda; glad you like it!

  9. I love pesto! and to combine basil with spinach sounds delectable. I will try it this weekend. Thanks, Kalyn.

  10. I always look forward to summer pesto made with all sorts of veggies – spinach, kale, Swiss chard and garlic scapes I even tossed in some beet greens last summer. Recently, I blended some basil pesto w/ sundried tomatoes and garlic and spread some on chicken breasts before coating it in bread crumbs and baking it. The kids loved it.

  11. This is my favorite pesto recipe! I use almonds for my nuts and make a pesto cream out of it using butter, cream, and more cheese. I freeze this pesto in an ice cube tray, then take out as many as I want about an hour before I want to use them. They thaw really quickly. I also use this pesto to make pesto meatballs. Yum!

  12. Delight I try to thaw pesto overnight in the refrigerator. If I forget to plan ahead, I thaw in the sink in hot water. (Put the container in the sink and fill with just enough hot water that it won't leak into the container.)