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Healthy Basil Spinach Pesto Sauce (Simple + Picky Eater Approved)

Nine simple ingredients are all it takes to make this gorgeously green, easy-to-make, picky-eater approved pesto sauce. It’s so flavorful you’ll want to spread it on everything!

This Homemade Pesto Sauce is the perfect recipe to replace your store-bought sauce. It’s simple to make, uses all real-food ingredients and packs a nutritious punch with the addition of spinach. The subtle flavors of basil and red pepper take this pesto sauce to the next level. The best part? It’s a great way to get your picky eaters to eat, and enjoy, a helping of greens without pushback.

If you’ve never prepared homemade pesto sauce before, it’s extremely simple to make and comes together in about 5 minutes. After trying it, you and your family won’t want to ever go back to store-bought sauce!

REAL-food ingredients

We absolutely love pesto sauce and all of its super fresh basil and cheesy flavor. While store-bought may taste great, most brands don’t use 100% pure extra virgin olive oil. Instead, they use a combination of vegetable oil and olive oil (who knows if the olive oil is even 100% pure?). Or, worse yet, they use refined oil and completely omit EVOO from the equation.

This recipe takes the guesswork out of knowing if your pesto sauce is a healthy addition to your meal or nothing more than a real-food imposter.

Choosing a cheese

We’ve found that freshly grated Parmesan cheese works best in this recipe. Pre-shredded parmesan cheese works too, it just doesn’t taste quite as fresh or often uses anti-caking agents (ick!).

Blending

For a smooth, creamy pesto sauce you should use a high-powered blender or a food processor. A regular blender will work too, but your sauce may not turn out quite as smooth.

This sauce is extremely freezer-friendly.

If you’ve followed our journey, you know how much we absolutely LOVE (and live by) cooking in bulk. Whether it’s a full-blown meal, a side dish, or a condiment such as this pesto recipe, we often make extra while everything is out. It really simplifies future meals and saves so much time!

Storage Tips:

Measure out your sauce into 1/2 cup portions in small mason jars to store in the freezer.
You can also transfer your pesto sauce into ice cube trays, cover the tray with plastic wrap or a lid and freeze. Once frozen, you can pop them out and store the frozen cubes in baggies. Each cube equals about 1 oz, or can easily be added into individual meals, such as a bowl of pasta or scrambled eggs.

Some favorite ways to use your Spinach Basil Pesto Sauce

Not only is this sauce easy to whip up, there are so many different and creative ways to use it in your everyday cooking. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:

  • Served on salmon (or any fish)
  • On pizza in place of red sauce
  • Tossed with pasta or whole grains, such as farro or quinoa (hot or cold)
  • In Chicken and Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes (or Peppers)
  • A delicious spread on sandwiches (just like you would mayo or mustard)
  • As the base in a homemade chicken salad recipe—YUM!
  • Mixed in with scrambled eggs
  • Drizzled on top of caprese salad
  • Smeared on a baguette and served as an appetizer
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Healthy Basil Spinach Pesto Sauce (Simple + Picky Eater Approved)


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Description

Nine simple ingredients are all it takes to make this gorgeously green, easy-to-make, picky-eater approved pesto sauce. It’s so flavorful you’ll want to spread it on everything! This Homemade Pesto Sauce is the perfect recipe to replace your store-bought sauce. It’s simple to make, uses all real-food ingredients and packs a nutritious punch with the addition of spinach. The subtle flavors of basil and red pepper take this pesto sauce to the next level. The best part? It’s a great way to get your picky eaters to eat, and enjoy, a helping of greens without pushback.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients, except EVOO, to a high-powered blender or food processor and pulse 8-10 times. At this point you’ll have a coarse mixture of basil, spinach, cheese and nuts. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a spatula as often as necessary.
  2. Add your EVOO and turn food processor on for 30-40 seconds, until your sauce reaches a smooth and creamy consistency. Be sure to taste test your sauce and add additional salt or pepper, if necessary.
  3. Store your pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Small mason jars work extremely well and are great for freezing when making a large batch.

Notes

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.

Always check for FfL-friendly ingredients.

Substitutions:

Pine nuts, Walnuts, or macadamia nuts in place of cashews.

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Category: Recipes
  • Method: Too Easy
TAGS: Holiday

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2 Comments

  1. Kaye Sigismondi

    Full disclosure, I was a little bit skeptical when I saw the spinach in this recipe. I have made pesto for years and have only ever used all basil. To say that I was more than impressed is an understatement. This pesto is very good and it will be my new go to. I used a combination of pine nuts and walnuts, as I did not have cashews on hand. This recipe does not disappoint. ????


    Reply
    • Kalie

      It’s great to hear that you enjoyed the Pesto and that the spinach was a pleasant surprise for you, Kaye. Thank you for sharing your experience with swapping cashews with pine nuts and walnuts – this is valuable insight that others can benefit from!


      Reply

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Hi beautiFULL, We’re Pam and Kalie

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