cooking · Dinner

Spinach Pesto with Oven Roasted Veggies

In the newest issue Health magazine of I saw a recipe for Arugula Pesto which sounded interesting. Well except for that I really, really don’t like arugula. It is like kale. I just have never found my happy spot with it. At the grocery store arugula was $3.99 for 6 ounces. Spinach was 99¢ for the same size container. I started pondering and decided to try it. And I am glad I did. Basil pesto? So pedestrian. You gotta have this! Vibrant, fresh and not oily tasting. You can make the pesto ahead and refrigerate it till dinner time to save time. Just look for regular spinach (if buying bagged) and not baby spinach, to save $, It is often ½ or more the price. The pesto doesn’t taste of spinach either. Kids or picky adults won’t know!

My love of lately has been big wedges of pecorrino-romano cheese, imported from Italy. Yes, grating cheese is tedious (and knuckle skinning), the taste is worth it. And you won’t be getting modified corn starch or cellulose (yummy wood pulp!) in your cheese either. Costco can be your help mate!

Spinach Pesto with Oven Roasted Veggies


Pesto –

  • 2 cups spinach leaves, packed tightly
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced (1 clove)
  • 3 raw walnut halves
  • 1 large lemon juiced and zested (3 Tbsp juice + 1 tsp zest)
  • ¼ cup grated parmigiano-reggiano or pecorrino-romano cheese
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Pasta –

  • 13.25 ounce package whole-grain or whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


For the pesto – Add everything but the oil to a food processor bowl. Turn on and slowly add the oil in while processing. Scrape the sides as needed, pulse till as smooth as you prefer.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Trim the zucchini and onions, chop into bite size pieces. Toss with the oil and seasonings, spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes, until browning and tender (mine took 25).

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt and the pasta, cook for time on package. Drain reserving a small amount of pasta water. Toss the pasta with the pesto and as much water as needed to make a smooth sauce. Add the roasted veggies and toss.

Serve with more cheese grated on top if desired.

Serves 4.

4 thoughts on “Spinach Pesto with Oven Roasted Veggies

  1. I made this last night. It was amazing! My husband loved it and even my super picky food averse toddler ate it! We even took pictures of him eating it. I wish I could show you him stabbing a penne with his fork then using his figure to pull the pasta off the fork and pop it into his mouth. He ate two servings! Granted, some of this is probably due to new medication but still, we were amazed.
    The only changes I made were to add brussels sprouts because I didn’t have enough onion and zucchini – I wanted to beef up the veggies. Also, I forgot walnuts so I used pecans that I had on hand. It turned out really well, and was very easy. I think I’m going to add the spinach pesto to my rotation, using it in other types of dishes. Thanks for the recipe!

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