• kelly@noshandnourish.com
  • Denver, CO
Spinach Pesto Spaghetti with Asparagus

Spinach Pesto Spaghetti with Asparagus

Hey guys, it’s Leigh Ann from My Diary of Us here and I am so excited to be sharing with you a delicious and healthy weeknight meal idea for #GreenWeek here on Eat the Rainbow – Kids that you and your kiddos are going to love.  Pesto is a staple at my house and I love making a super large batch to keep on hand for sandwiches, pastas, pizzas, and more!  It freezes beautifully and I love that you can add in greens for extra nutrients and get more bang for your buck!  This recipe for spinach pesto pasta with asparagus is going to quickly become one of your new favorites.

I swapped the traditional pine nuts for raw pepitas to make this pesto nut-free and to give an extra dose of vitamins from the pepitas, which are high in zinc and vitamin K.  I also add in a ton of spinach to the pesto itself to not only make the pesto extra green in color, but again add more nutrients to the sauce!  This is particularly great if you have a kiddo who is opposed to spinach in it’s leaf form because it truly becomes undetectable in the pesto!  You can also use kale here, but unless it’s baby kale I like to lightly blanche the kale to make the leaves a little less harsh in taste and more tender for the pesto!

My son is obsessed with pesto and it is such a great way to get kiddos used to eating green things because most kids do love the taste of a pesto.  I mean what’s not to love right?  You can also adjust the garlic amount based on whether your kiddo is a garlic loving kiddo or not. 

The thing I love most about this recipe is that it is not only good for you, but it’s so simple to make even on the busiest of days.  I simply make the pesto in my food processor and then toss it with warm pasta, asparagus that I cook right in the pasta water, some parmesan cheese, and a little bit of pasta water to make a super creamy sauce!  You can definitely omit the parmesan here if you want to make this dairy free and of course feel free to swap out regular pasta for gluten free pasta too. 

You can truly make this pasta your own and add in another veggies to the mix beyond asparagus!  Peas, zucchini, and broccoli are all great subs for asparagus if your family like any of those better.  I also love shrimp and chicken in this pasta as well for some extra protein.  The options are endless here so feel free to have fun with it!

-Leigh Ann

spinach pesto spaghetti

Spinach Pesto Spaghetti with Asparagus

Leigh Ann
Servings 6 servings


For the pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese optional
  • 2 Tbsp raw pepitas aka. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more if needed for desired consistency
  • 1 tsp salt plus more for pasta water
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice this brightens the sauce and preserves the bright green color

For serving

  • 1 lb. spaghetti or noodles of choice
  • 1 bundle asparagus tough ends removed and sliced into fourths


  • Combine basil, spinach, garlic, parmesan cheese, pepitas, olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a food processor or high powered blender and process until smooth. Adding more olive oil if needed.  Set aside.
  • Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Generously salt when it becomes a rapid boil, about 2 Tbsp to season the pasta.
  • Add in the asparagus the last two minutes of boiling time to blanche lightly.
  • Reserve about 2 cups of pasta water before draining the pasta and asparagus.
  • Add pasta and asparagus back into the pot and add in pesto and 1 cup of the pasta water at this time.
  • Stir to combine adding more pasta water if needed for consistency.
  • Top with extra parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

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