Spinach Parsley Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes

This is from the Jillian Michaels Master Your Metabolism cookbook and it’s one of my favorite recipes. It can be easily adapted to be vegan and gluten free- just use vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast and gluten free pasta.

This recipe is: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free


  • 12 oz pasta of choice
  • 1-2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 11-16 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup parmesan (real or vegan) cheese (or can sub nutritional yeast)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, more to taste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil


  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the spinach and parsley in boiling water for about 30 seconds, in batches if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath. Do not discard the cooking water. When all the greens have been blanched, place on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove as much water as possible.
  2. Add the blanched greens, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, tomato paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Process until you have a coarse paste. With the motor running, add 4 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp of the cooking water from the greens. Process until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.
  3. Heat the greens’ cooking water and use it to cook pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the water.
  4. Combine the pasta, tomatoes, and pesto, adding reserved water to thin the pesto as necessary. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-5.


One Comment Add yours

  1. edgyveggienz says:

    Sounds delish!


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