Saturday, June 16, 2012

Linguine with Basil and Spinach Pesto

This is a 100% failsafe, universally popular dish at my house, often served as an accompaniment to eggplant parmesan (probably the biggest cheater-face recipe in my repertoire). It's basically your straightforward basil and pine nut pesto, with the addition of thawed, frozen spinach - you could use fresh, but you'd probably need to add more liquid - which makes for a lovely green color while adding some extra iron and other good stuff. It's delicious on linguine or other pasta, but also very nice on polenta and/or steamed or roasted veggies. Best of all: for something that literally comes together in minutes, it has the remarkable ability to make everybody happy!

Linguine Basil and Spinach Pesto
~ 2 packed cups chopped, fresh basil
~ 1/2 lb. frozen spinach, thawed
~ 3-4 tbsp. minced garlic (be bold!)
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 3/4 cup pine nuts
~ 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan substitute, or a combination
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, oregano
~ Fresh black pepper to taste
~ 1/4-1/3 cup reserved pasta water, as necessary
~ 1 lb. linguine (or other pasta), cooked and drained according to package directions

~ Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
~ In a skillet, gently toast the pine nuts until they are golden and giving off a nutty, toasty aroma. Remove from heat and set 1/4 cup of them aside.
~ In a blender or food processor, combine basil, spinach, garlic, olive oil, the remaining pine nuts,  nooch or parmesan, and seasonings. Puree until you have a smooth, green paste, adding a bit of the pasta water if necessary to achieve the texture you want.
~ Adjust for seasonings, and toss the pesto with the cooked, drained pasta. Stir in the reserved 1/4 cup pine nuts, and serve. This recipe is equally good served hot or at room temperature.


  1. love me some pesto!! :) sounds delicious!

  2. Omg I made the pesto tonight and then added it to steamed sweet potato and gnocci and mixed it all together! Holy veggie lover was to die for! My non vegan husband ate 2 servings and said it was his favorite meal for the week! And he even ate sticky BBQ spare ribs on Monday ( his usual favourite!)! I think the more garlic u add the better! I like to be tasting my meals for the hours following meal time! Yummmmo!

  3. Hey Dianne! I tried this out last night to use up some of the fresh basil we've been growing this summer. It was fabulous. I loved the robust flavor (I took your advice and used the full amount of garlic, of course). Will definitely be making this again! Thank you!