A super simple yet delicious Spinach Pesto Pasta with Basil and Goat Cheese recipe made gluten-free noodles, lots of leafy green spinach and basil and goat cheese. The perfect pasta for pasta night (or any night, really!).
Friday night should always be pasta night.
Because the perfect, most easy to make, greenest pasta, as shown above, is the ultimate in quick and easy dinners.
This Spinach Pesto Pasta takes less than 30 minutes to make and is sure to be loved by any gluten free – veggie craving – green loving – pasta obsessed gal (aka ME!) or her hubby-to-be who on a Friday night, after a long work week, just wants dinner to be served ASAP.
Either way, this pasta is sure to impress.
Pasta has recently become an essential in my kitchen lately. Because who doesn’t love pasta. But also because pasta is quick and easy and usually always delicious. (I say usually because last night I made a pasta recipe from a cookbook I purchased last week and it was so much less than delicious… in the I was suddenly so tempted to order take-out less than delicious kind of way.) Extra emphasis on quick and easy, which is key to our Friday nights.
Because who really wants to be spending hours and hours in the kitchen after a busy week ?! And mostly because if we don’t have a social or sporting event marked on the calendar that we need to make it to, I definitely just want to get a head start on relaxing time. So, when I am planning out my weekly menu, I always make sure some sort of quick and easy pasta dish finds its way into Friday night. And this spinach pesto pasta is the most perfect healthy and gluten-free dinner any Friday night could ask for.
MORE ABOUT THIS SPINACH PESTO PASTA RECIPE
First of all, the pesto. I am sort of an untraditional pesto freak these days. I mean, standard pesto is always delicious but when you can add things like roasted red peppers or walnuts or hemp seeds or goat cheese to the mix, it takes a pretty-ok pesto the next level.
The goat cheese makes this pesto so creamy in the best way possible. And when goat cheese is blended together with spinach AND basil it becomes the greenest and most delicious sauce going. And dare I say because there are 2 servings of leafy green spinach packed into that sauce.
And I opted for hemp seeds. Originally, I wanted to use walnuts. But I never have walnuts in my kitchen but I always have hemp seeds. It just made sense. You can definitely use walnuts if you have them (use 1 cup of walnuts instead of hemp seeds and add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of water in addition to the 4 tablespoons used in the recipe). I also went easy on the garlic here (I like garlic but I don’t looooove garlic like most people do) but if you wanted to add a little extra, please do!
But mostly I just love this recipe because it’s easy. Everything goes into the food processor and then later is tossed with freshly cooked pasta. Easy. And gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly and… just good.
I really like the curly pasta noodles here (I like they are the most fun cut of pasta to eat but that’s just me!) but really, whatever noodle you like or have on hand will be delicious.Print
A super simple yet delicious Spinach Pesto Pasta with Basil and Goat Cheese recipe made gluten free and vegetarian friendly with spinach, basil, lemon, garlic and goat cheese.
For the Pesto Sauce:
- 2 cup basil, loosely packed
- 2 cups baby spinach. loosely packed, divided
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds/hemp hearts
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 small clove of garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup plain goat cheese
For the Pasta:
- 3/4 – 1 lb pasta, gluten free or favourite grain (I like a short cut pasta here)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups baby spinach
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Extra hemp seeds/hemp hearts and basil leaves, for garnish
For the Pesto Sauce:
- Place basil, baby spinach, hemp seeds, lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic into a food processor.
- Turn the processor on and slowly stream in olive oil 1 tablespoon at a time, scraping down the sides as needed until the pesto sauce is smooth.
- Add the goat cheese to the food processor and blend until the goat cheese is well incorporated and smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
For the Pasta:
- Cook pasta according the the package directions, reserving about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-low. Sautee the spinach, seasoning it with salt and pepper until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Adjust the heat to low and add the pesto sauce to the skillet, stirring to incorporate with the spinach. Allow the pesto sauce to warm but not boil, bubble or burn, stirring occasionally until pasta is finished cooking.
- Add the 1/2 cup of starchy cooking liquid to the pesto sauce, stirring well to incorporate the liquid and thin the sauce.
- Add the cooked pasta noodles to the skillet and toss to combine, ensuring each noodle is coated in pesto sauce.
- Serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of hemp seeds or fresh basil.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes