Spinach and Walnut Pesto

Don't get me wrong, original basil pesto is delicious, but this vegan pesto recipe is something else. Firstly, it's got spinach in which makes it a lot healthier than other pesto recipes. Secondly, it's a great alternative to the standard pesto we all know too well. And lastly, pine nuts are really expensive so replacing them with walnuts makes it a cheaper alternative (bingo!). This is the best vegan pesto recipe that you'll ever try (I hope).

If you want to make this vegan pesto recipe without nutritional yeast that's absolutely fine, it just might not be quite as tasty. The nutritional yeast adds a cheesy, nutty flavour that replaces the parmesan (a traditional pesto contains parmesan). However, It's worth noting that if you're not vegan, you can swap the nutritional yeast for 50g of parmesan or Italian hard style cheese.

What blender do I use for pesto?

I would always use a food processor for pesto. A food processor will blend all the ingredients listed below perfectly and still maintain that delicious pesto texture.

If you use a high powered blender like a Ninja or Nutribullet, you'll find that it will blend the pesto too smooth and all texture is lost. You may also need to add more liquid to it so that it is actually able to blend.

How to make pesto sauce?

Pesto is traditionally made by blending pine nuts, fresh basil, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and parmesan. It does not involve any cooking and therefore it's a really quick and easy sauce to serve with pasta, potatoes, pastries or anything else you fancy.

However, here at Defying Hangry, we're mixing up the traditional pesto recipe by adding spinach and replacing the pine nuts with walnuts.

Total Prep and Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Equipment Needed: food processor

Freezable: Yes

Serves: 4


  • 100g of walnuts

  • 30g of fresh basil

  • 1 garlic clove

  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon

  • 5 tbsp of olive oil

  • 4 tbsp of water

  • 1 handful of spinach

  • 2 tbsps of nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 tsp of salt

  • 1/4 tsp of pepper


Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. That's it - enjoy!

If you made this, I would love to hear from you! Comment below or get in touch on Instagram.

Here at Defying Hangry, we make delicious and easy vegan recipes. All our meals contain a range of nutritious and easily accessible ingredients - to make even the busiest of mealtimes easy, healthy and quick. As well as vegan recipes, we also share a range of vegan gluten-free recipes and vegan nut-free recipes.