This spinach pesto pasta is creamy and rich, plus it's loaded with vegetables. Easy to make and ready in 30 minutes, this vegetarian pasta is both healthy and delicious.
Looking for an easy vegetarian dish? You've got to try my favorite creamy spinach pesto pasta. Just like roasted vegetables pasta and ratatouille this dish is packed with a lot of vegetables, making it the perfect vegetarian weeknight dinner - but even carnivores will appreciate its rich flavor!
Table Of Contents:
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy to make - Basically all you have to do is sauté and blend vegetables, then mix the pesto with the cooked pasta. This recipe is so simple and doesn't require any specific skills.
- Packed with vegetables - This green pasta sauce is made with heaps or spinach, zucchini, jalapeno, parsley and basil. It's a great way to sneak in a lot of vegetables into a meal! This is one of our favorite healthy dinners that kids love too!
- Quick - Similar to our lemon ricotta pasta, it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish to make this creamy and delicious spinach pesto pasta.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Pasta: I love using refrigerated linguine pasta for this recipe because of its texture and flavor. However, you can use any kind of pasta that's available to you.
- Zucchini: Depending on the size of each zucchini, you will need 1 to 2 zucchinis for this dish.
- Spinach: You can use bay spinach or regular spinach; there is no need for chopping since all will be blended later.
- Jalapeno: This is optional: I love a little heat in the pasta that's why I use 1 jalapeno. I remove the seeds so the heat is tolerable. You can also use serrano pepper.
- Parsley and basil - Remove the thick stems but keep the tender ones for flavor.
- Walnuts: Walnuts add a nice addition of flavor to the sauce, they are also a good source of healthy fats.
- Parmesan: Finely grated parmesan adds a lot of flavor and creaminess to the sauce. You can also use pecorino.
How to make spinach pesto pasta
- Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the zucchini slices for a few minutes.
- Add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Turn the heat off and set it aside.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and save about 2 cups of the pasta water.
- In a blender add the zucchini and spinach with the garlic, jalapeno, parsley, basil, walnut, olive oil and parmesan. Blend on high until creamy.
- Pour the pesto sauce into the pan and turn the heat on to medium. If the sauce is too thick, add some pasta water to it.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat all the noodles with the sauce.
What I love the most about this recipe is that it's so versatile and you can modify it to your liking. Here are a few suggestions:
- Use other green vegetables including kale, broccoli or even arugula to make the sauce.
- Make it spicy by adding more jalapenos or serrano peppers.
- Use other kind of pasta such as spaghetti, penne or rigatoni.
- Serve with some grilled chicken or baked chicken for extra protein.
- Instead of raw garlic, add a head of roasted garlic for a more subtle flavor.
Frequently asked questions
You can make this dish up to a day in advance. You might need to add a little bit of water when reheating.
I don't recommend using frozen spinach since the color is not as bright and vibrant as fresh spinach.
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the leftovers in a pan over medium heat and add ¼ cup water. Cover with a lid and heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
You can leave out the parmesan or use vegan parmesan instead. It's also possible to use nutritional yeast.
Absolutely. Simply choose a gluten free pasta to go with the sauce. The varieties are endless these days, including chickpea and lentil pastas.
More recipes using spinach
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Creamy Spinach Pesto Pasta
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 zucchini cut into chunks, about 2 cups
- 1 lb spinach
- 9 oz linguine
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno deseeded
- 2 cups parsley
- 1 cup basil
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
- ½ cup parmesan
- Heat 2 tablespoon of the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute the zucchini until golden. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted, 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat off and set it aside.
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain but save 1 to 2 cups of the pasta water.
- Place the zucchini and spinach in the blender. Add the garlic cloves, jalapeno, parsley, basil, walnuts, the rest of the olive oil and parmesan. Blend until creamy and fully mixed.
- Pour the spinach pesto sauce into the pan and turn the heat on to medium. If the sauce is too thick, add ½ cup pasta water to it.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve warm.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. To reheat, place the pasta in a pan and add ⅓ cup water. Turn on the heat to medium low and it should be ready in 5 to 10 minutes.
- If you're not a fan of jalapenos, leave them out.
- You can use various kinds of nuts such as cashews, almonds, pine nuts and pecans in this recipe.
- You can also use pecorino instead of parmesan.