Pic of Spaghetti with spinach and walnut pesto

Spaghetti with spinach and walnut pesto

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Vegetarian mains

Spaghetti with spinach and walnut pesto

Main Serves 4 30 min
Walnuts and spinach add lovely nutty, earthy flavours to traditional pesto and lots of extra protein and iron. This pesto can be made in the time it takes the pasta to cook – ideal for a midweek dinner. Use wholewheat spaghetti for this if you've got it – it's stronger flavour stands up well here.


  • 400g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 30g walnut pieces and 20g pine nuts, toasted in a dry frying pan for 1 min
  • 50g fresh basil leaves, plus a few extra for garnishing
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, grated
  • zest of ½ and juice of 1 lemon
  • 200g spinach, tough stalks removed
  • 100g Parmesan or Pecorino, grated
  • 100ml olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Image of Spaghetti with spinach and walnut pesto


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 20 min
  • Step 1

    Boil the spaghetti in salted water for 10 minutes.
  • Step 2

    While it is cooking, put the walnuts, pine nuts, basil, garlic, nutmeg, lemon zest and juice, half the spinach and half the Parmesan in a food processor.
  • Step 3

    Blitz, gradually pouring in the oil until it forms a rough paste. Season to taste.
  • Step 4

    Roughly chop the rest of the spinach leaves if they're large.
  • Step 5

    Drain the cooked pasta, keeping a ladle of the pasta cooking water.
  • Step 6

    Toss the pasta with the rest of the spinach, the pasta cooking water and enough pesto to coat. Toss together over a low heat to warm through and wilt the spinach.
  • Step 7

    Stir in the rest of the Parmesan, check the seasoning and serve, garnished with a few basil leaves.

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