Whenever you don’t have much fresh basil, you can make this Spinach and Basil Pesto to stretch out your basil! And for pesto fans, this post has links to more interesting pesto variations.

PIN Spinach and Basil Pesto to try it later!

Spinach and Basil Pesto in white bowl on green-white napkin

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 when I don’t have that much fresh basil I love to make this Spinach and Basil Pesto to stretch out my basil.

When I am lucky enough to have a surplus of basil, I freeze some of the fresh basil for winter or make it into Basil Pesto with Lemon, which I also freeze. 

This double green pesto is delicious on grilled or sauteed vegetables, grilled chicken, grilled fish, and even 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.

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • fresh spinach leaves
  • fresh basil leaves
  • garlic puree or finely minced fresh garlic
  • Pine Nuts (affiliate link)
  • good quality grated Parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin Olive Oil (affiliate link)

Is it important to follow the recipe to make Spinach and Basil Pesto?

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 process shots collage

How to make Spinach and Basil Pesto:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Two cups of packed basil is a big salad spinner full; give the basil is good wash and spin dry.
  2. You’ll need 2 packed cups each of basil and spinach leaves (or adapt proportions to the amount of basil you have).
  3. Use the food processor to chop the spinach and basil, stirring a few times as needed to get it going.
  4. Then add the garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan and process until it’s well blended.
  5. Finally, add the olive oil through the feed tube of the food processor and process until it’s as smooth as you’d like. 
  6. That’s it! Make a big batch of pesto on the weekend and eat it on things all week long!

square image of Spinach and Basil Pesto in white bowl

More Interesting Pesto Variations to Try:

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
Yield: 12 servings

Spinach and Basil Pesto

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

This Spinach and Basil Pesto is a great way to make pesto when it's early summer and you don't have that much fresh basil yet!


  • (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)


  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.
  6. 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 if you're lucky enough to have some left!


Nutritional information is based on 1/4 cup serving size.

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

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 222mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

Did you make this recipe?

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating (under the PRINT button in the recipe) or share a photo of your results on Instagram! THANKS!

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, Keto, or low-glycemic diets or any phase of the original South Beach Diet.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Fresh Herbs or Sauces to find more recipes like this one.Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This delicious Spinach and Basil Pesto was first posted in 2007, probably without a photo! It was last updated with more information in 2022. And now that I don’t have a garden I would love to make this pesto to stretch out my basil!

Pinterest image of Spinach and Basil Pesto

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