Spinach Almond Pesto

Pesto recipes aren’t hard to come by, and with the ingredients they usually contain, you really can’t go wrong.  So, this just serves as a reminder of how a simple recipe can be the base for so many variations, which can then be used in so many ways.  Spinach is in season and basil is not, so this is a great time to try something different! 

Read on after the recipe for some ideas on variations and uses for this delicious pesto.  The bean and grain recipe is especially worth trying with whatever type of beans, grains (or potatoes) and vegetables you have available. 

By the way, this isn’t my recipe, but I got it from a friend’s cookbook and I don’t remember the name.  I’ll find out, then update this post when I do.

Spinach Almond Pesto

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup whole raw almonds
  • 2 cups packed chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, optional
  • salt, to taste

Blanch the almonds: boil enough water to cover the almonds, about 1/2 cup.  Put almonds in boiling water for 45 seconds to a minute.  Drain and rinse with cold water, then pinch the skin off with your fingers. 

Heat olive oil over medium heat, add blanched almonds and cook until just lightly browned, keeping in mind that they continue to brown while they cool in the oil.  Allow to cool, then blend with remaining ingredients in a food processor.  Add salt, to taste. 

Why blanch the almonds, you wonder?  According to Ayurveda, the skins can be difficult to digest.  Soaking almonds makes them even easier to digest and soaking them overnight allows you to slip the skins off without boiling.  However, the skins come off more easily with the boiling method, in my experience.   

As I said above, the options are practically limitless, so take these suggestions and run with them…

  • Replace the spinach with any other green vegetable.  Some vegetables, like broccoli, might work better blanched or lighly steamed.
  • Replace the almonds with another type of nut, walnuts and pine nuts come to mind, but pistachios might also be delicious.  Actually, any nut would probably be delicious.
  • Replace olive oil with ghee for a richer, though less pesto-like flavor
  • Use on pizza, pasta, grains, etc. as you would any pesto
  • Spread on crackers and top with sliced tomato
  • Use as a sauce for a bean and grain dish; and example…saute a spring onion and garlic scape (don’t know what that is?  head on out to the Farmers’ Market or join a CSA and you will likely find out), add sliced cabbage, carrots, and a leafy green veggie and cook until crisp-tender.  Add cooked black beans and rice and continue to cook until heated through.  Stir in the pesto, add some chopped fresh tomato and enjoy! 
  • Rub some oil and garlic on a piece of bread, then top with pesto and lightly toast for a delicious garlic bread


  1. Hi Julia,
    I thought I’d try again…thanks for comment on my site. Good to ‘meet’ ya. (Actually I will be in Boulder later this summer…) I love making pestos with all types of herbs and nuts. ‘Tis the season!

    • adaba said

      The other comment was in the spam folder, which I didn’t even realize existed! Congrats on enrolling in the Bauman program – can’t wait to hear more about your new line of products. I’ll check out your posts in greater detail and would be happy to provide feedback. Stop by my stand if you get to the Wednesday night Farmers’ Market!

  2. […] market but you can substitute this with any mild flavoured pesto (i.e. not basil). I also found a recipe for spinach and almond pesto that looks about right for what I bought. Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

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