Quick Spinach Pesto with Pasta and Peas


Spinach Pesto with pasta is one of the best ways that I’ve found to serve greens to my kids. It’s mild, easy to make, and is a super quick family dinner that’s ready in about 20 minutes! Plus, there are veggies and protein in the mix so you don’t even need any sides.

spinach-pesto-pasta-with-peas_in bowl

 Spinach Pesto Pasta

Okay, first things first: Yes, spinach pesto is green. And yes, I know that sometimes is a no-go with kids. BUT it pairs so well with favorite foods like pasta and pizza that it has, in my experience, a high chance of being accepted by the kids. It’s easy to make and is a great way to pack nutrients into those favorite foods.

TIP: You can make the Spinach Pesto sauce while the pasta cooks—simply put all the ingredients into the blender or food processor then simply stir it together with the pasta and peas. Or you can make it ahead of time and store it in the fridge until mealtime.

ingredients in spinach pesto

Ingredients You Need

To make this easy family meal you’ll need:

  • Spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Parmesan
  • Pasta
  • Frozen peas

TIP: I like to use sunflower seeds in my nut-free pesto since they are less expensive than pine nuts and the flavor is really great. You can really use pine nuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, or walnuts according to your preference.

how-to-make-spinach-pesto-pasta-step-by-stepStep-by-Step Instructions

Making spinach pesto is super simple. Here’s a look at the process so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Place the pesto ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend smooth.
  3. Place the frozen peas into the bottom of a colander. Drain the pasta, pour it right over the peas to thaw and warm them.
  4. Return the pasta and peas to the pot and stir in the pesto. Eat!

TIP: You can make this pesto ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container or in the freezer in a zip top freezer bag, pressed flat and with as much air removed as possible, for up to 3 months.

Can I make this recipe without peas?

The beauty of this recipe is that you can use the pesto and the pasta and leave out the peas. You can sub in broccoli (toss it into the pasta water for the last 4 minutes while the pasta is cooking), diced zucchini (toss it into the pasta water for the last 2-3 minutes while the pasta is cooking, or leave out another veggie all together.

There’s still a potent punch of nutrients in the pesto, so the peas are optional.

spinach pesto

Iron-Rich Foods for Toddlers

Serving greens to kids straight up is often a hard sell. They can be tricky to chew and they often have strong flavors. But spinach is a great source of Vitamin K, folate, iron, B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber, so I love that this spinach pesto is both kid-friendly and super nourishing.

TIP: Find more iron-rich foods for kids here.

Tips for Success

  • Add in a handful of basil if you want, though we love this pesto without basil too.
  • To freeze a batch for later, add 1 cup of Spinach Pesto to a freezer bag, press the air out, flatten, and seal. Freeze for up to 2 months. It will quickly defrost at room temperature. (You can also break off a chunk and add it frozen right into whatever amount of pasta you make and as you stir it in, it will thaw.)
  • Spread pesto on pizza crust in place of pizza sauce for pesto pizza.
  • Add a few cups of diced and cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage if desired.
  • Instead of peas, you can use broccoli (toss it into the pasta water for the last 4 minutes while the pasta is cooking), diced zucchini (toss it into the pasta water for the last 2-3 minutes while the pasta is cooking), or leave out another veggie all together.
  • Use whichever pasta your family prefers.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you make it, so please comment below to share!

Print

spinach-pesto-pasta-in-blue-bowl

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Peas


Description

This bright green pesto is cheesy and mild, making it a perfect sauce for a quick dinner of pasta and peas!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 4 cups lightly packed baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups frozen peas

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Place the peas into the colander (still frozen) and drain the pasta over the peas. The peas will thaw almost instantly. Return to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, add the spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, Parmesan, and seeds to a blender. Blend very well until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Season to taste with salt if needed.
  3. Toss with the pasta and serve with additional Parmesan cheese and enjoy warm.

Notes

The pesto can be stored in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer in a zip top storage bag (pressed flat and with as much air removed as possible) for up to 3 months.

This is enough sauce for a pound of pasta. Use a little less if your pasta package is smaller and store the leftovers for another day.

To Use this Spinach Pesto as Pizza Sauce: Simply spread the pesto onto prepared pizza crust and prepare as you normally would with regular tomato-based sauce. For a full size pizza, about 1/2 cup of pesto is usually the right amount. Adjust as needed.

To Make this into Kale Pesto: Swap in baby kale or regular kale removed of the stems for the spinach. Make as directed.

To Make this Dairy-Free: Omit the cheese and consider adding an extra 1/4 cup sunflower seeds. Add a little nutritional yeast for extra flavor if desired.

Add in a handful of basil if you want, though we love this pesto without basil too.

To freeze a batch for later, add 1 cup of pesto to a freezer bag, press the air out, flatten, and seal. Freeze for up to 2 months. It will quickly defrost at room temperature. (You can also break off a chunk and add it frozen right into whatever amount of pasta you make and as you stir it in, it will thaw.)

Add a few cups of diced and cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage if desired.

Instead of peas, you can use broccoli (toss it into the pasta water for the last 4 minutes while the pasta is cooking), diced zucchini (toss it into the pasta water for the last 2-3 minutes while the pasta is cooking), or leave out another veggie all together.


Bir cevap yazın

E-posta hesabınız yayımlanmayacak. Gerekli alanlar * ile işaretlenmişlerdir