This spinach pesto pasta comes together in the time it takes to boil a box of pasta. Read on for my super simple and ridiculously green blender pesto.
This spinach pesto pasta is the kind of low-effort high-impact meal that requires close to zero kitchen skills. It comes together in just about half an hour and calls for minimal equipment. Seriously, if you can make a smoothie, you can make this pasta.
The homemade spinach-basil pesto may be plant-based and packed with superfoods, but it’s so rich and creamy, you may actually find yourself wondering, “Did someone put cream in it when I wasn’t looking?”
What’s In This Spinach Pesto Pasta
This recipe has two elements: pasta and a ridiculously easy homemade pesto. The healthy sauce is made simply by blending together: baby spinach, fresh basil, almonds, garlic, miso, lemon juice, and olive oil. It’s creamy, savory, and bursting with freshness thanks to the abundance of fresh greens.
As you likely know, traditional pesto is made with just basil. Adding spinach makes the sauce super green – basically neon! – and adds lots of micronutrients, like potassium, iron, folic acid, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Almonds add protein and healthy fats to this pasta, which make it more satiating than classic pesto.
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Spinach: This pesto uses baby spinach because it wilts easily and doesn’t need to be pre-cooked.
- Basil: Without its fresh grassy flavor, the pesto would be a bit bland.
- Almonds: Roasted almonds have a lot more flavor than raw. Here they can be subbed with cashews, shelled pistachios, or pumpkin seeds.
- Miso: Since this pesto doesn’t have parmesan, miso adds savoriness and a mild “cheesy” flavor to this vegan pasta.
- Olive Oil: Pesto calls for a lot of EVOO, so use the best quality you have since its flavor will definitely come through. I rely on California Olive Ranch as a tasty and affordable option.
- Garlic: If you’re sensitive to it, use 1 clove instead of 2.
- Lemon Juice: adds brightness and balances the richness of almonds and olive oil.
- Pasta: Use any short shape with grooves and divets that will trap the sauce nicely. Avoid long and tubular shapes here (like spaghetti, ziti, etc.).
How to Make Spinach Pesto Pasta
Step 1: Prep the Pesto.
Start boiling water for the pasta. In the meantime, combine all the pesto ingredients in a blender but don’t blend yet.
Step 2: Boil Pasta and Finish Pesto.
When the water comes to a boil, generously salt the water and start cooking the pasta. After a few minutes of cooking, the water will turn cloudy (meaning some starch has been released); at this point, scoop out some of that water, add it to the blender, and purée until the pesto is smooth and bright green. The hot water will wilt the spinach in the blender and assist in softening the nuts.
Step 3: Finish the Pasta.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Immediately add the pesto and stir to coat. Drizzle in more pasta water as needed to achieve a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.
More Recipe Tips
If you’d like to make this vegan spinach pesto and use it for something other than pasta, simply swap out the pasta water with plain boiling water. Transfer the pesto to a container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More Vegan Pastas…
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag your creation with @thenewbaguette on Instagram.Print
- 1 pound short pasta, like orecchiette, gemelli, or shells
- 3 packed cups baby spinach
- 2 packed cups fresh basil
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds* (see note below)
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Meanwhile, combine the spinach, basil, almonds, garlic, oil, miso, and lemon juice in a blender. Don’t blend yet – set aside.
- Generously salt the boiling water and cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente. After about 5 minutes of cooking – when the pasta is not yet cooked through but the water is cloudy – scoop out about 1 cup of the cooking water. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the blender and puree until the pesto is smooth and creamy.
- Drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the pesto and lots of black pepper, and stir to coat. Add a splash more pasta water if you want a creamier consistency. Season with salt or more lemon juice, if needed. Serve immediately.
Roasted almonds have a lot more flavor than raw. Here they can be subbed with cashews, shelled pistachios, or pumpkin seeds.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 390
- Sodium: 354 g
- Fat: 12.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 58.3 g
- Fiber: 4.1 g
- Protein: 12 g