This healthy spinach and basil pesto pasta recipe is jam-packed with both nutrients and flavour! In just 15 minutes, you'll have a delicious and satisfying meal that is gluten-free and guilt-free.
This dish was inspired by a random craving for pesto paired with what was in my fridge. Luckily, it turned out amazing! This spinach and basil pesto pasta recipe is healthy and vibrant - not to mention gluten-free.
Another inspiration in the creation of this dish was the purchase of my household basil plant, subsequently named Bobby. My family had been buying bunches of basil for $3-4 basically every week, and Bobby was only $6.99 for the whole plant! Quite a bang-for-your-buck in our minds. So I just had to make a pesto. It was right there in front of me!
Ingredients you need
Gluten-free pasta: This one's a given. My top pick is a rotini or fusilli because they really grab the sauce well, but you can use your favourite gluten-free noodle.
It should be noted that you can simply omit the pasta and make this spinach and basil pesto recipe. The zing of this pesto will pair well with many dishes. Perfect for a sandwich, caprese salad, or as a side sauce!
Spinach: I decided to add spinach to this pesto in an attempt to use less basil, since if you don't have a plant it could be a costly ingredient. Spinach is also commonly in my fridge and adds a serious health kick to this pesto since it is loaded with micronutrients. I find that it doesn't alter the classic pesto taste at all!
Fresh basil: A must-have in pesto! Basil's unique and earthy flavour is at the forefront of this spinach and basil pesto. It has also been shown to aid in digestion and decrease inflammation, which I'm always looking out for!
Olive oil: Gives this spinach and basil pesto the perfect consistency. Use a high quality extra virgin olive oil for the best taste.
Parmesan: Helps to emulsify the pesto into a sauce and add that wonderful cheesy flavour.
Nuts: I chose to use blanched almonds in this recipe since it's what I had on hand. You could also use some classic pine nuts. Any type of neutral-flavoured nut will help give body to the pesto and improve the consistency.
Garlic: An essential flavour. Adds another dimension to the sauce.
Lemon juice: I would also consider this an essential ingredient in this spinach and basil pesto recipe. The lemon juice adds acidity and brightens the sauce, complementing all other ingredients. Without it, you can tell there is something missing.
Seasonings: A little salt and pepper will round out the sauce and complete this spinach and basil pesto, enhancing notes from each individual ingredient.
How to make this spinach and basil pesto pasta
This pasta dish could not be easier. The entire sauce comes together in the time the pasta takes to cook. Then, it's ready to enjoy!
You'll want to start by boiling some water for the pasta. Be sure to salt it! It really makes a difference in the flavour of the dish. Then, cook your pasta according to the package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, combine all other ingredients in a high-speed blender. And that's it for the sauce! Creamy, savoury, and earthy - this pesto is amazing not only for this pasta recipe, but on sandwiches, salads, or sides!
When the pasta is done, reserve about ½ cup of pasta water. Drain, rinse, and return the pasta to the pot or a large bowl. Gently stir together the pasta, pesto, and pasta water until entirely coated in the the velvety mixture. The pasta water acts as a binder that emulsifies the sauce to really grab onto the pasta. Otherwise, your sauce may become a bit oily.
Once all the pasta is coated in the deliciously fragrant pesto, it's time to plate. Garnish with some cherry tomatoes, fresh parsley, more parmesan, and enjoy!
This quick and easy spinach and basil pesto pasta recipe can be scaled down for an individual serving, or doubled to feed the family.
You've gotta try this recipe! If you have, I'd love to see. Tag me on instagram @livglutenfree and let me know how it was in a comment below!
More Gluten-Free Mains
Gluten-Free Spinach and Basil Pesto Pasta
- 3 cups Gluten-Free Pasta
- 1 cup Fresh Basil
- 1 cup Fresh Spinach
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ⅓ cup Almonds or Pine Nuts
- 3 teaspoon Minced Garlic to taste
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- Pinch Salt
- Pinch Black Pepper
- Cook your pasta in salted water according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, combine all other ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and olive oil is fully incorporated.
- Save ½ cup of pasta water then drain. In a bowl or the pot, mix the pasta, pesto, and pasta water to emulsify the sauce and fully coat the noodles.
- Garnish with some cherry tomatoes, extra parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley. Enjoy!