Healthy Spinach Walnut Pesto

by | Sauces & Dressing

Iron rich spinach and omega packed walnut along with garlic and aromatics, make for a healthier version of the traditional pesto. 

Spinach Walnut Pesto
Spinach Walnut Pesto

What Is Pesto?

Traditional pesto is considered a sauce, made of basil, pine nuts, lots of garlic and a grated cheese. 

Pesto has become much more than a sauce. Popping up in dips, spreads and schmears on a plate with seafood or meats on top, we now use pesto in so many ways. 

Spinach and Walnut Pesto

Just on a whim, I decided to take an over abundance of spinach in my fridge and make it into a pesto. After all, it is green, just like basil. 

Walnuts, for me, are one of the healthiest of nuts, claiming to promote many aspects of our health. Claiming also to plump up the body with antioxidants and Omega-3s. 

The nut for this pesto was going to be walnuts, making this pesto a far healthier version than the traditional pine nuts. 

Healthy Sauces

Often when we think of a sauce, we envision heavy cream, lots of butter and other yummy ingredients that don’t fit comfortably in the ‘healthy’ category. 

Turning to olive oil, as a fat in a sauce, is just a wise choice. Whisking this pesto into a creamy sauce, using olive oil and lemon juice, is already a healthier option, tasty too.

What To Serve With Spinach Walnut Pesto

Using spinach pesto as a sauce to toss with pasta is a meal in itself. Protein from the walnuts. Lots of iron and fiber from the spinach and I’d say this is a far healthier pasta option than tomato sauce. 

You could, however, add this pesto to tomato sauce, therefore sneaking lots of healthy ingredients in, masked by the tomato sauce. 

Meatless Monday is what really inspired the creation for this spinach and walnut pesto. I roasted a few eggplants, spread the pesto on top and boom, we had a fabulous meal. 

Roasted eggplant and spinach walnut pesto
Roasted Eggplant and Spinach Walnut Pesto

Instead of adding the cheese to the pesto, I saved it to sprinkle on top. Warmed the roasted eggplant, pesto and cheese back in the oven and served a scrumptious meatless dinner. 

Pesto Eggplant Meatless Monday
Pesto Eggplant Meatless Monday

Pesto Pizza Sauce

Since I had plenty of pesto leftover, after meatless Monday, I decided to make pizza with the pesto that remained. 

Spinach Walnut Pesto Pizza
Spinach Walnut Pesto Pizza

Pizza, in my house, always consists of two different types of dough and two different types of topping. For kids? Nope, my hubby and I eat differently. 

I make a spelt crust for me and a wheat crust for him. He gets bacon, while I choose venison as a leaner option. 

Bacon Pesto Pizza and Venison Pesto Spelt Pizza
Bacon Pesto Pizza and Venison Pesto Spelt Pizza

The pesto is a perfect spread for the topping we each have. Remember, there is already lots of healthy ingredients in the pesto. A little bacon will make hubby forget how healthy his pizza was intended to be!

While spinach pesto is one of my favorite green sauces, I think my Pea Pesto ranks right up there on the top too!

Pea Pesto with Seared Scallops and Carrots
Pea Pesto with Seared Scallops and Carrots

How To Make Spinach and Walnut Pesto

Once the spinach has been washed and drained, the rest goes fast. Secondly, you will need to give a rough chop to the onions and garlic. 

Toss all the ingredients, except the cheese, into a pan to simmer enough to soften the onions, and the sauce is nearly done. 

Lightly sauté pesto ingredients
Lightly Sauté Pesto Ingredients

Last, the sauce gets transferred to a food processor of blender and whirl into a luscious, healthy sauce. 

Cheese can be added once the pesto is pureed or saved to add as a topping.

Ingredients Needed

  • Spinach
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Walnuts
  • Salt
  • Aleppo pepper
  • Thyme sprigs
  • Grated cheese
Spinach Walnut Pesto
Spinach Walnut Pesto Ingredients

Equipment Needed

  • Cutting board
  • Chopping knife
  • Sauté pan with a lid
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Strainer
  • Stovetop or burner
  • Food processor or blender

Healthy Spinach and Walnut Pesto

Recipe by rdaumitCourse: Sauces u0026amp; DressingCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

ounces

Iron rich spinach and omega packed walnut along with garlic and aromatics, make for a healthier version of the traditional pesto. 

Ingredients

  • Spinach – 1 lb

  • Onion – 1/2 cup

  • Garlic – 3 cloves

  • Olive oil – 1/4 cup

  • Lemon juice and zest – 2 tbsp

  • Walnuts – 1/2 cup

  • Salt – 1/2 tsp

  • Aleppo pepper – 1/4 tsp

  • Grated cheese – 1/4 cup

  • Thyme – small bundle

Directions

  • Wash the spinach and drain. Rough chop the onions and garlic.
  • In a frying pan with a lid, place the olive oil on medium. Add the onions, garlic, spinach, lemon juice and zest, salt, Aleppo pepper and walnuts. Stir. Place the thyme sprigs on top, so they are easy to remove. Simmer on low for about 5-minutes, covered. Turn it off and allow to cool.
  • Once the mixture has cooled, remove the thyme sprigs and puree in a food processor or blender.
  • The cheese can now be mixed in or saved to sprinkle on top when the pesto is spread onto a favorite pizza dough or roasted eggplant.

Recipe Video

Spinach Walnut Pesto
Spinach Walnut Pesto
 

My Muffin Madness

 

In my family, I’ve always been known as the ‘Muffin Queen’. Out of necessity, I created muffins for breakfast, lunch, on the go snacks, sometimes dinner and a sweet yet healthyish treat for dessert!

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