Spinach pesto is the ultimate condiment! Use it as a sauce on pizzas and pasta, spread it on sandwiches, or just slather it on bread and enjoy it as a snack. This super easy pesto recipe, made with spinach and basil, is vegan and gluten-free.
What is Pesto?
The word “pesto” comes from the Italian word pestâ, which means to pound or to crush. This makes sense, because the ingredients are crushed and mixed together. Early references to pesto show that it was originally made by crushing garlic, salt, cheese, herbs, vinegar, and oil together into a paste. It’s believed that basil, which is now considered a pesto essential, was added in the mid-19th century.
What we now think of as “traditional pesto” is a paste-like sauce made with basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and cheese, but since the word pesto is actually a generic term for anything that is made by pounding, I think that just about anything goes when making it.
I like to mix things up and change out the greens when making pesto. Baby spinach is my favorite green for pesto, but I also like to use arugula or kale. Instead of pine nuts I sometimes use pistachios, cashews, or walnuts.
Vegan Spinach Pesto
Spinach pesto is my favorite version of sauce. The nutritional yeast and miso give it a little bit of a cheesy flavor. If I’m in the mood for a creamier pesto, I will use raw cashews rather than pistachios. If I have a hankering for something spicy, I’ll add a pinch of red pepper flakes.
What You Need
You only need a few ingredients to make your own pesto!
- Nutritional yeast
- Lemon juice
- White miso
- Sea salt
- Olive oil
See recipe card for exact measurements.
How to Make Spinach Pesto
This recipe is super easy to make!
- First you place all of the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor, and process until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
- While the processor is running, you slowly add the olive oil through the top opening. You process until your pesto is thoroughly, but not paste-like. It should be a little chunky.
Serving Your Pesto
There isn't anything that doesn't taste better with a little pesto! Add to your pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and even avocado toast!
Vegan Spinach Pesto
- 5 ounces baby spinach (about 5 cups)
- 2 ounces basil (about 2 cups)
- ¼ cup pistachios
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon mellow white miso
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Add the spinach, basil, pistachios, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, garlic, and salt to a food processer fitted with an s-blade, and process until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
- While the processor is still running, add the olive oil through the top opening. Processed until mixed thoroughly, but not a paste. The pesto should be a little chunky.
Some of my favorite recipes that use spinach pesto include:
- Vegan Tomato Tartlets with Spinach Pesto
- Zucchini Noodles with Spinach Pesto
- Avocado Toast
- Lemon-Rosemary Grilled Tofu Sandwich