Spinach and Basil Pesto

This pesto gets a color boost from adding a little baby spinach. A quick blanching helps brighten the colors as well as draw out some of the moisture that would otherwise make this pesto too runny. Typically made with the addition of toasted pine nuts, I’ve opted for a nut-free version. The addition of a little miso not only adds a little tang that cheese would typically provide, but also adds a little creaminess that the nuts bring.

Use as a sandwich spread, either on its own or mixed a little into some mayo. Toss with hot pasta, or boiled potatoes, or even stir some into a bowl tomato soup. It is easy to make and extremely versatile.


Spinach and Basil Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A quick blanching preserves the vibrant green color of this flavorful pesto that combines both basil and baby spinach
Serves: ½ cup
  • ½ cup basil leaves, from 1 40g pack
  • ½ cup baby spinach (a generous handful)
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon blond miso
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt
  2. Drop in the basil and spinach
  3. Cook only long enough to brighten the color, less than 15 seconds
  4. Drain and cool as quickly as you can, in a bowl of ice water if possible
  5. As soon as it has cooled completely, drain it again.
  6. Gently squeeze out any excess liquid
  7. Using a food processor: combine everything and process until it is all finely chopped. Not so long that it is pureed. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper
  8. Using a mortar and pestle: Pound and crush the garlic with a little pinch of salt, add in the spinach and basil along with a tablespoon of the oil and continue to work the mixture until it is reduced to a paste. Stir in the nutritional yeast, miso and remaining olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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