This Pesto Pasta with Spinach is ready in just 15 minutes! It's light and healthy but packed with flavor from the homemade pesto. Serve with a generous sprinkle of parmesan!
This pasta with pesto sauce recipe requires 10 ingredients and 15 minutes to make and turns out SO GOOD. It's an amazing solution for when you are short on time or don't have the desire to cook, but want to eat something delicious and nourishing.
The best part is that you can throw whatever greens you have on hand and call it a night. And we all know a big bowl of pasta is always a good idea.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Pasta. We love tagliatelle, but you can use any pasta you like. Choose whole-wheat pasta when possible.
- Basil & Parsley. Fresh herbs are essential for making a good pesto.
- Pumpkin seeds to keep the pesto nut-free. Or sub with sunflower seeds.
- Balsamic vinegar. For a bit of tanginess. Or sub with lemon juice.
- Olive oil a.k.a. liquid gold!
- Parmesan. Either vegan parmesan or regular.
How to Make It
A good sauce can save even the most boring meal and this pesto tastes amazing drizzled on almost everything!
It's so incredibly easy to make. Simply add all of the ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. I love to add pasta water when blending to make it a bit more liquidy, which makes it perfect as a pasta sauce. But it's also good when it's thicker, which gives it the ability to spread nicely. You cannot go wrong here!
Next, cook your pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Then, drain the pasta and return back to the pot. Add pesto, spinach, and parmesan (optional) and cook for 2-3 minutes or until everything is well coated.
- Prep in advance: You can prepare the pesto in advance and save it in a covered container for up to 5 days! This will make this recipe even easier to prepare.
- How to refrigerate: Save cooked pasta and pesto in separate containers and mix before serving. Don't forget to drizzle 1-2 tablespoon olive oil after the pasta is being cooked to prevent it from sticking!
- How to freeze: This recipe for pasta with pesto sauce doesn't freeze well. Let us know in the comments down below if you have any tips or if you have had success with freezing it!
- Re-heat: Add pesto and pasta to a small pot, alongside a splash of water. Heat on medium-low heat until hot.
- Use gluten-free pasta such as chickpea, lentil, etc. to bump up the protein.
- Add whatever veggies you have on hand. You can go with kale, frozen green peas, broccoli, swiss chard, etc. Make it abundant!
- Don't rinse the pasta! This is a very widespread myth, but rinsing your pasta means less starch left. And starch is what makes pasta great!
- Salt the pasta water and reserve some of it before draining.
- Don't overcook the pasta. Follow the instructions on the packaging and cook until al dente.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
If you liked this recipe, try one of the following next!
Or check out this round-up featuring 10 Italian pasta dishes, all simple and so delicious!
15-Minute Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta
For the pesto
- 1 cup basil (lightly packed)
- 1 cup parsley (lightly packed)
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds roasted
- ⅓ cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2-3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or sub juice of a ½ lemon)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pasta water
For the pasta
- 6 ounces dry pasta of choice (use Gf if needed)
- ¼ cup vegan parmesan or regular
- 1 cup spinach (optional)
- Fill a large pot with water, add 2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Next, add the pasta and boil until al dente, following the recommended time on the packaging. Preserve ½ cup of the pasta water before draining.
- In the meantime, prepare the pesto. Start by roasting the pumpkin seeds, if you haven't already. Add to a skillet and toast over medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until slightly golden.
- Add all of the ingredients to a blender - basil, parsley, pumpkin seeds, balsamic, oil, garlic powder, salt, and pasta water and blend until a creamy consistency.
- Add the drained pasta back to the pot along with the pesto, spinach, and parmesan cheese and sauté for 5 minutes or until the spinach has decreased in volume and the pesto sauce has thickened.
- Serve topped with more parmesan (optional) and enjoy immediately.
- Save in a covered container, in a fridge for up to 4 days.