Pesto on breadMaybe it’s from watching one too many episodes of Popeye growing up, but I love spinach. I try to eat at least a little spinach every day, whether it’s a simple salad, sauteed with pasta, or in smoothies.


So the other day when I was hankering for some summertime flavors, I decided to use some baby spinach as a stand in for part of the basil in a pesto recipe I ran across in Lidia’s Italy in America cookbook. Sure, I mixed in some basil, but the spinach gave the pesto just the right consistency and bright shade of green. As Lidia suggested, I mixed the pesto in with my pasta. We used the extra as a dip for the bread. Next time, I’d skip the pasta and just serve the pesto with the bread. I was literally scrapping the bowl of the food processor with bread to get every last drop–it was that good.


 Getting kids to try it tips:

  • My youngest will eat just about anything if it’s dippable. She gave the pesto rave reviews.
  • My tween isn’t a spinach fan. So I thought I might tempt her to give it a try if I mixed it with something she does like–pistachios. She tried the pesto, said it was, “Okay,” and left the rest untouched on her plate (uh, I ate it later;). She didn’t like it this time, but she was at least willing to give it a try, especially when she knew something she liked was in the mix.


pesto in blender

Pesto is so easy to make–everything just goes into the blender!


Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: About 1 cup



1 1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves (opt.)

1/4 cup pistachios

1-2 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (opt.)

2/3 cups olive oil

1 tsp. white vinegar (or fresh lemon juice or my preference, white balsamic vinegar)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese



  1. In a food processor, pulse together the spinach, parsley, basil, garlic, and pistachios.
  2. Slowly pour in the olive oil. (In my Cuisinart, you can pour the liquid into the feed tube and it works perfectly.)
  3. Process the ingredients until smooth.
  4. Add in the pepper, if using, cheese, vinegar, and adjust the seasoning.


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