Spinach Pesto

Classic Italian pesto is made with basil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts, but there are a lot of other herbs, leafy greens, cheeses, and nuts that work as well. Here, we’re using spinach, feta, and walnuts — but you can mix and match however you like! Use the pesto to add pizzazz to your sandwiches. Or add 1 tablespoon to your favorite vinaigrette to amp up the flavor. (Or, of course, you can stir some into a bowl of cooked pasta.) 

Hands-on time:
30 minutes
Total time:
30 minutes

Kitchen Gear

Food processor (adult needed)
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Rubber spatula, for scraping 


2 cups baby spinach leaves (packed, about 4 ounces)
1 clove garlic (large), peeled
1⁄4 cup lightly toasted walnuts or almonds
1⁄2 cup crumbled feta or shredded cheddar cheese
1⁄2 cup olive or vegetable oil
1⁄2 teaspoon teaspoon kosher salt


Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your equipment and ingredients and put them on a counter.

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bowl of the food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the mixture is well chopped. Stop and use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl if anything is getting stuck.
  2. Use right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. 

To toast nuts:

Put them on a baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until they are fragrant and look a shade darker, about 5 minutes.


  • Substitute basil and/or parsley leaves for the spinach
  • Substitute 1 cup cilantro and 1 bunch scallions for the spinach, and ricotta for the feta or cheddar cheese
  • Substitute pecans or pine nuts for the walnuts or almonds

Did you come up with your own version? Write to us about it! info@chopchopmag.org