Lovely green spinach leaves are the inspiration for a greener basil pesto. Together with toasted pine nuts and lots of Parmigiano, they make a delicious, versatile sauce, which I use with pasta, in deviled eggs, over grilled veggies, in vinaigrettes, and even as a burger mix-in. Don’t forget to toast the pine nuts before you make the pesto. Note: You can use all basil leaves here, too, but it is best to blanch the leaves in boiling water for a few seconds, then "shock" them in ice water and pat dry. They will retain their green color that way.


Makes 1 1/3 cups


  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups packed fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more if needed
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. In the bowl of a food processor, process the garlic clove until it is minced.

2. Add the spinach, basil, pine nuts, and 1 tablespoon olive oil.

3. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until finely chopped.

4. Add the Parmigiano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, several grinds of fresh black pepper, and the lemon juice and process until well-combined.

5. With the motor running, gradually pour the remaining olive oil through the feed tube and process until you get a nice smooth pesto. If the pesto is too stiff, add a bit more olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you get the right consistency.