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Top view of jar with spinach pesto and a vintage silver spoon inside. White surface.

Easy Spinach Pesto (with arugula and basil)

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Easy and versatile, this homemade spinach pesto sauce comes together in 15 minutes and can be used with fresh pasta, chicken, and sandwiches.

  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup


  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cup fresh arugula
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice (of 1/4 to 1/2 a lemon)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put all ingredients, except pasta, in the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the metal blade.
  2. Process for 30 seconds, or until a paste forms.
  3. Check seasonings and continue to process until it’s puréed to your liking.
  4. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container (preferably glass), and a thin layer of olive oil on top, to prevent oxidation. Drizzle the oil slowly down the back of a spoon into the jar with the pesto. 
  5. Keep refrigerated.
  6. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions, toss with pesto, sprinkle with grated parmesan, some extra pine nuts if you want to, and serve.


Freezing pesto: transfer it to a freezer-safe container or ice cube trays and freeze for up to a month. Thaw frozen pesto in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature. Remember to taste and adjust the seasoning if needed before serving.


  • Cheese: add some sharp ground cheese like parmesan, asiago or Reggiano.
  • Spinach basil pesto: add fresh basil leaves instead of parsley.
  • Spicy pesto: add red pepper flakes or a small amount of chili powder.
  • Creamy pesto: blend in a dollop of Greek yogurt or cream cheese. It adds richness and smoothness.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Condiments
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: International