Toasted Walnut Spinach Pesto Pasta

by Marla on February 24, 2012 · 54 comments

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Spiral pasta with homemade spinach pesto sauce

We are just about to wrap up our two week trip at our home away from home in the mountains. At the start of out vacation we were welcomed by a huge order or fresh and fabulous food delivered by Black Canyon Foods. This was my first time ordering from these folks and this must happen every visit to Colorado. In our order was a Cilantro Pesto sauce that was gone in seconds. It was time to make my own version!

With just a few items left in the fridge and pantry I put myself up to the challenge of using up every last bit of what we have left. I refuse to waste food, sooooo with a heap of baby spinach, toasted walnuts, parmesan and olive oil our pesto sauce was put together in minutes.
Spiral pasta in rainbow colors on rustic wooden table

My kids and husband love this curly swirly rainbow hued pasta. It is an irresistible subject for photography.

Grab a few handfuls of baby spinach to get a dazzling green color…

Baby spinach leaves on linen napkin.

What is not to love about a sauce that can be whizzed up in seconds in your food processor? The ingredients don’t need to be fussy or carefully measured out. Choose you greens, nuts and cheese according to what you have lying around. No heat required.

Homemade baby spinach pesto sauce in a glass with long spoon

My recipe calls for just a few servings, but you can make a whole lot more and enjoy it for a few days worth of lunch box meals and dinners.

You can easily make this a grain free or gluten free meal by simply omitting the pasta. I enjoy my pesto spooned over fried eggs, which makes this a low carb-grain free meal. I also toss a few spoonfuls in my salads as a dressing. You can thin it out with more olive oil if you wish.

Spiral pasta with homemade spinach pesto sauce

Pesto with quinoa or gluten free pasta is wonderfully tasty too. Toss in some chunks of grilled chicken, slabs of seared tuna or tofu for extra protein.

Little boy in ski suit walking on snowy stairs

We love coming into hearty, healthy meals after hitting it hard on the slopes.

Gorrono Ranch in Telluride Colorado

Serve hot, cold or anywhere in between.

Spiral pasta with homemade spinach pesto sauce

Do you have a favorite pesto recipe? What ingredients do you add to yours?

Toasted Walnut Spinach Pesto Pasta

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

Toasted Walnut Spinach Pesto Pasta


  • 1 cup (35 grams) packed Baby Spinach Leaves
  • 1 clove fresh Garlic
  • 1/4 cup (45 grams) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup (25 grams) grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/3 cup (45 grams) Toasted Walnuts
  • splash of Lemon Juice
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


    Toast Nuts
  • Lay nuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for about 10 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. They are ready when fragrant and slightly browned.
  • Pesto
  • Whiz all ingredients up in a high powered blender or food processor. Pesto will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days. Store in a tightly sealed container with some plastic wrap over the top of the pesto to help prevent browning.
  • Notes
  • This recipe is simple to make in a Big Batch, simply adjust ingredients in the using the same ratios.
  • Pecorino Romano or any other firm cheese would be great in this as well.
  • Adjust you ingredients to taste, feel free to experiment with different nuts, seeds, cheeses and flavored oils.
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