Spinach Pesto Pasta

Spinach Pesto Pasta

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By Becky Krystal

This light and bright Spinach Pesto Pasta is a great, kid-friendly way to incorporate extra greens into your meal rotation. We love baby spinach for its mild flavor, but feel free to play with bolder, heartier options, like kale or Swiss chard.

The recipe is a double time saver. Use half the pesto now and freeze the rest for a quick and easy meal later.

Storage: Refrigerate the pesto in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze it for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Refrigerate assembled doughs for up to 4 days.

From recipe editor Becky Krystal.


Measuring cup

Servings: 6 (makes about 8 cups)


  1. Step 1

    Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans in a single layer on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking, or until fragrant and slightly charred. (You can also toast the nuts, stirring frequently, in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes.) Transfer to a plate or bowl to cool slightly.

  2. 2nd step

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then salt the water to taste. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of water for the pasta, then drain it. Return the pasta to the pot.

  3. Step 3

    While the pasta cooks, combine the pecans and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the basil, half the spinach and half the oil (you can watch them), lemon juice, a generous grind of black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste . Blend until puree, scraping bowl as needed. Add the remaining spinach, turn the food processor back on and gradually pour in the remaining oil until smooth and well blended, scraping the bowl as necessary. Taste and season with more salt, lemon juice and/or pepper, as desired. You should have about 2 cups of pesto.

  4. Step 4

    Transfer 1 cup pesto to the pot with the pasta and toss gently to coat, drizzling in the reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to loosen the sauce.

  5. Step 5

    Transfer to a large serving bowl or individual plates, season with more salt and/or garnish with Parmesan, if using, and serve.


Baby spinach >> kale, more basil, arugula, Swiss chard.
Pecans >> walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving (1 1/3 cup pasta with about 3 tablespoons pesto), based on 6 and using 1 cup pesto

  • Calories


  • Fat


  • saturated fat


  • Carbohydrates


  • Sodium

    154 mg

  • Cholesterol

    0 mg

  • Protein


  • Fiber


  • Sugar


This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.

From recipe editor Becky Krystal.

Tested by Becky Krystal.

Published on May 7, 2024

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