Zesty Spinach Pesto
Total Time
15 mins

This tangy spinach pesto recipe is great when fresh basil isn’t readily available or just too expensive. The arugula adds spiciness, while the sunflower seeds deliver a heartier texture and a gorgeous nutty flavor. Nutritional yeast brings a little cheesiness to replace the traditional use of Parmesan, but it can be omitted if you don’t have any.

Pesto is so versatile, you can use it in 1000 different ways: tossed in pasta, swirled into hummus, drizzled over roasted veggies or potatoes, spread onto avocado toast or a veggie wrap, paired with vegan cream cheese…

Servings: 1 cup
Author: Beth Williams and Meg Raines
  • 2 cups spinach leaves, packed
  • 2 cups arugula leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (preferrably) freshly squeezed)
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 2 small garlic cloves (or 1 medium garlic clove)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Add the spinach, arugula, parsley, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, nutritional yeast (if using) and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Add a small pinch of salt and some fresh ground pepper and process.

  2. With the processor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Continue until the texture becomes paste-like.

  3. Stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you find the pesto too dry, add extra olive oil one tablespoon at a time, processing between each addition, until you have reached the desired consistency.

  4. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

* You can also use roasted sunflower seeds if that’s what you have on hand.