Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

I have a tendency to buy way too much spinach each week at the grocery store.  We go through a lot of spinach in our house, but for some reason I always overestimate just how much we really need.  The extras usually go into smoothies or something like that, but a few weeks ago I needed to use a bunch … and quickly … before it went bad.

I usually just make regular basil pesto, but decided to experiment and make a spinach version.  Since that would use quite a bit of the aforementioned tons of extra spinach.  And from there, this quick and easy dinner idea was born.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

This pasta is jam packed with plenty of good-for-you spinach, along with some crunch from the walnuts and a little saltiness from the sun-dried tomatoes.  There’s also just a hint of kick, from the red pepper flakes, and you can definitely dial it up and add some more depending on your taste.

I also added in a little greek yogurt to give it a hint of creaminess and was so happy with the result.  And if you’re like my husband and like meat with your dinner, add some sliced chicken or sausage.  It’s great that way as well.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts | Cookie Monster Cooking

Easy dinner idea to start your week off right?  Check and check.

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Walnuts
Yield: about 4 servings
For the pesto:
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the pasta:
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ⅓ to ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • additional freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving
  1. To make the pesto - add the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, salt, red pepper and parmesan cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in the olive oil and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add the greek yogurt to the bowl with the pesto. Mix to combine. Add the pesto mixture to the bowl with the pasta. Mix until evenly coated. To serve, spoon the pasta into bowls. Top with some walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

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  1. I am SALIVATING at the sight of this spinach pesto pasta! It’s looks super amazing and the best part is that its super healthy too! :) Yum!!!!!!!!

  2. This is making me hungry (and I should be going to bed soon). I’ve seen recipes for a spinach pesto, but glad to know it actually tastes good! If I ever cook “real food” I will have to try this :)

  3. Are we the same person??? I buy spinach with the same reckless abandon and end up throwing it into just about everything (including right into my mouth if I’m close to the end of a bag…yes, I am that strange). I’m a huge fan of Greek yogurt in my pesto too! Can I come over for dinner? I’ll bring a spinach salad ;-)

  4. I need to finally get off my butt and make pesto.

  5. Oooh great idea to use spinach in pesto! I tend to buy too much too, so I’m happy to find another recipe that uses up a big bunch easily. Looks delicious!

  6. I am too a fan of pesto! Your pasta looks scrumptious!

  7. Oh I’m a big pesto fan, I make some all the time but I’ve never though of a spinach pesto! Does it tastes like spinach? I love raw spinach in smoothie or a salad but I’m not a big fan of cooked spinach. That’s doesn’t stop me from buying way too much of it every week too!

    • It actually tastes very similar to traditional pesto … a little more mild I think would be a good way to put it? You can kinda taste the spinach but to me it just tastes more like pesto … if that makes sense!

  8. This looks so delicious, and I love that it uses spinach for some extra nutrients! Yummy. Pinned!

  9. I am swimming in spinach so tonight I was just thinking about spinach pesto.. and I plan on making it very soon and freezing it to last the winter! Thanks for this great dish!

  10. Hi Ashley! Like you, I always buy way too much spinach. This pesto looks like a great way to use up the excess. And I love the greek yogurt! Thank you for sharing yet another delicious and delightful post. I hope you had a wonderful Monday!

  11. oh mama, I love easy pasta dishes. Plus I always have spinach kicking around in my fridge.

  12. Love the spinach pesto! And sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite things paired with pasta.

  13. I LOVE the recipe, but I also love the styling here, too! Those napkins are adorable.

  14. What a great way to use up left over spinach! I hate wasting food.
    I love that you used Greek yogurt in this pasta too. It looks delicious and your food photography is gorgeous!

  15. This looks delicious, Ashley! The combined flavors of sundried tomatoes and spinach is wonderful! Due to acute nut allergies, I will substitute sunflower seeds for the walnuts in the pesto and in the pasta. I have no idea how the flavor compares to walnuts (never having purposely eaten anything with walnuts) but sunflower seeds are great for crunch and flavor! :)

  16. That’s a terrific recipe! I’ve gotten to love sundried tomatoes these days and it’s just awesome paired with pesto. I like the touch of yogurt you add in it, too.

  17. I love easy dinners Ashley! And I also don’t like waste. Spinach pesto is a great idea. This bowl is a beauty. Love how the sun-dried tomatoes here make everything pop. Delicious! :)

  18. This looks so yummy… and healthy! Can’t wait to whip it up

  19. This looks so delish – I love tweaking pesto with different ingredients! Great idea!

  20. I love pesto and spinach, so I love the sound of this! The addition of walnuts, sundried tomatoes and red pepper flakes sound amazing. Great use of spinach and I love that there’s Greek yogurt in there!

  21. I do that with kale. All. The. Time. I have the most gigantic bunch sitting in my fridge right now actually lol. :) But spinach pesto sounds delightful! And I love the switcheroo with the walnuts in place of pine nuts. Looks awesome Ashley!

  22. I love adding spinach to pesto. It sounds amazing with the pasta and sun dried tomatoes!

  23. This looks delicious, I love spinach pesto, I may be making this soon!

  24. All of my favorites packed into one pasta dish! Love it!

  25. Spinach pesto is really delicious, I’ve tried it before and it’s amazing how similar it tastes to basil pesto. This pasta is right up my alley – well, anything with pesto is! :)

  26. Oh my – this spinach pesto sounds awesome – love the addition of red pepper flakes for a little kick :)

  27. What a great way to use up that extra spinach! Pesto is such a flavorful food, but I’ve never added spinach in it before. This sounds amazing!

  28. This is absolutely my kind of pasta salad! I love the walnuts, the spinach, the sun-dried tomatoes. Everything about it just screams delicious!

  29. I see your problem, we grow loads of spinach here and I never know what to do with it all. It usually goes into spinach omelettes, but this idea is a much better one: it looks so good! I’m loving the walnuts addition, I’m sure they make a wonderful crunch!
    I hope you’ve had a nice weekend :-)

  30. Mmm I’m all over this! Such an awesome flavour combo!

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