May 24, 2021

Basil + Spinach Healthy Pesto

Hello everyone!

(Receta en Español abajo!)

Want to step-up your nutrition game? This healthy pesto recipe is a nutritious power house because we add a portion of dark leafy greens, we use cashews, and olive oil. This recipe also does not require salt! Of course, if you would like to add salt you can but you do not have to! This creamy nutrition-packed healthy pesto is a wonderful way to add flavor to your meals!

Cutting board with basil, spinach, parmesan cheese, garlic, and cashews

Table of Contents

Basil + Spinach Healthy Pesto

This recipe only has 9 ingredients and you will need only a blender or food processor. Here are a few ideas we have tested and tried. Trust me, it’s sooo good!

  • Lather your whole wheat pasta with this pesto and add roasted veggies
  • Spread it on whole wheat toast with a hard boiled egg on top. Nutrient-dense carb + protein + fat trifecta!
  • Put is as a dipping sauce for raw veggies and seeded crackers
  • Use it as your salad dressing in a veggie + protein bowl
  • Bake salmon and then spread the pesto on top right before serving it
  • Spread the pesto on your tortilla as the base before rolling your burrito up
  • Pour your pesto over your scrambled eggs to get a healthy dose of protein and fats!

Some Notes on this Healthy Pesto recipe

  • Baby spinach. This recipe can be done with baby spinach or arugula or carrot tops. I’ve tried this recipe with all these variations and it tastes just as amazing. Do not let your lack of baby spinach keep you from making this recipe!
  • Olive oil. I used extra virgin olive oil which gives it a great taste. You can use ¼ cup of olive oil instead of the ⅓ cup if you are trying to keep this recipe a little lower calorie. Using ⅓ cup of olive oil makes the pesto a little more smooth compared to using less oil. Totally up to you!
  • Salt. This recipe, in my opinion, does not need salt. I know, I know, I sound unstable. However, I am always looking for ways to decrease my salt intake so I am very mindful of how much salt I add to my food. I admit, I made this recipe and fed it to a bunch of people. It was only AFTER they told me how amazing this pesto recipe was that I told them I did not add any salt to it. So I recommend holding the salt until AFTER you have tried it. You might be surprised. 
  • Cashews. You can use pine nuts (as it is traditionally made with pine nuts). You can also use almonds BUT we recommend putting these in the food processor by themselves FIRST to make sure they are not too chunky. Cashews are wonderful because they make this pesto incredibly creamy. We recommend using unsalted nuts. 

Basil Spinach Pesto Recipe

Steps for this Healthy Pesto Recipe

Place all the ingredients (hold the salt) in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth for about 1 minute

Healthy Pesto Ingredients


Scrape the sides with a spatula and blend until the pesto has become creamy for about 30 seconds. 

Healthy Pesto in a Blender

Taste and add salt depending on your “taster”- as we call it. 

Pesto Bowl

Pour in a bowl and ENJOY!

Healthy Pesto Meal


Bottom Line: This recipe is a great way to add some leafy greens to your meal without it looking like a bunch of spinach on the side of your plate. I HIGHLY recommend trying this recipe. If you have a hard time getting your veggies in, please do yourself a favor and try this recipe.


Healthy Pesto Meal in Plate



¡Receta en Español!

Aquí va la receta de un pesto saludable exquisito! Como dice en la receta, la espinaca se puede cambiar por rúcula o las hojas verdes de zanahoria. La receta queda igual de rica.

Lo otro bueno de esta receta es que de verdad no necesita sal. Obviamente le puedes agregar sal a tu gusto PERO te recomendamos probarla primero.

Pesto Albahaca Espinaca Recipe

Enjoyed this resource? Share it!

I am a Registered Dietitian (RD) based in Chicago, IL. I have worked in various clinical settings including dialysis, ICU, and NICU. I am bilingual and love my Spanglish speaking peeps!


  1. Lisa Bell August 9, 2021 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    This looks delicious — great photos! I had never thought of substituting cashews for walnuts or pine nuts. Will give this a try! :)

    • Catalina Ruz Gatica, MS, RDN, LDN August 9, 2021 at 5:35 pm - Reply

      Thank you! And yes- the cashews really make this pesto creamy. Let us know how you like it!

  2. Rachel August 10, 2021 at 3:00 am - Reply

    Can’t wait to try this!

    • Catalina Ruz Gatica, MS, RDN, LDN August 10, 2021 at 12:02 pm - Reply

      I hope you like it! Let us know how it goes!

Leave A Comment