This easy Spinach Basil Pesto is a great way to start cooking with kids. It’s a super fast and easy recipe that they can do mostly by themselves! It’s also loaded with spinach, and I swear your kids will give it two thumbs up as well 👍👍, spinach and all! Great for young chefs 3 years and up!
Cooking with Kids – Spinach Basil Pesto
This easy and super yummy Spinach Basil Pesto is one of my kids’ favorite recipes to make!
They literally want to make this pesto every week. Really.. they just want to make this pesto so they can have a reason to ask for pizza night😜.
And since this recipe is loaded with spinach, I am all for it🙌!
Parker (my youngest) isn’t the biggest fan of spinach.. as in she will politely pick whatever spinach is on her plate and fling it right onto my plate🙄.
But because she is in control of making this recipe and because pesto is so darn good, she will devour all-of-the spinach in this recipe!
So if your little one is going through a picky-eating or no green food phase, don’t just pass this recipe over. Show them the pictures below and see if you can talk them into it.
I have found that if I start making anything in my kitchen and call my girls over to help, they will both help make and eat whatever we have made together #score!
Ingredients You Need
- garlic cloves
- slivered almonds (pine nuts, pistachios, hemp seeds or cashers also work)
- parmesan cheese
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Food Processor
- Measuring Cups – 1 cup, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup (love these ones because you can say pink 1/2 cup measuring cup and it will be easy for kids to understand and make the connection between the fractions and colors)
- Lemon Juicer or Lemon Squeezer
- Rubber Spatula
Cooking with Kids for all ages
Beginner – you can have all of the ingredients pre-measured and ready for them to just dump into the food processor. Make sure to supervise them around the food processor blade. They can turn the food processor on and also help scrape down the sides. Have them follow along with the pictures down below for step-by-step instructions.
Intermediate – you can get all of the ingredients out but have them measure and pour everything into the food processor. They can scrape down the sides of the machine as well as help clean up. Make sure to still supervise them around the sharp food processor blade. Have them follow along with the pictures down below for step-by-step instructions.
Advanced – you can have them get all of the ingredients out, measure everything, process the pesto before putting the ingredients back where the come from and cleaning up. I would still recommend some supervision around the blade of the food processor.
How to Make this Spinach Basil Pesto
Measure 1 cup of each basil and spinach.
*Fun Sensory Exercise* – have your kids close their eyes and let them smell a piece of basil and then a piece of spinach. Some questions to ask them – do they smell the same? Which one has a strong smell? Which one do you like the smell of more? If they want, you can do the same exercise with taste testing the leaves as well.
Rip the stems off of the basil.
Discard stems in compost or trash.
Using a 1 cup measuring cup, pack it down with basil.
Pour basil into food processor.
Rip the stems off of the spinach.
Discard stems in compost of trash.
Using a 1 cup measuring cup, pack it down with spinach.
Pour spinach into food processor.
Measure out 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup almonds.
Measure out 1/2 cup parmesan.
Pour into food processor.
Measure out 1/4 cup almonds.
Pour into food processor.
Add in 2 cloves of garlic, add in 1/2 lemon juiced.
*Help from Parent* – using the flat side of a big knife, smash down on the clove of garlic and remove the garlic skin.
Add the garlic cloves into the food processor.
Using a lemon juicer or squeezer, squeeze the juice out of 1/2 lemon. You can also squeeze the lemon by hand into a small bowl and then scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
Pour lemon juice into food processor.
Add in a pinch of salt and pepper.
Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil.
Measure out 1/4 cup olive oil.
Pour into food processor.
Time to turn on the food processor and make pesto!
Place the lid on top of the food processor.
Hit the on button and let the machine run for 1 minute.
Scrape down sides with a rubber spatula.
If the pesto is looking clumpy and dry, add in another 1/4 cup olive oil.
Turn the food processor back on and let it run for 1 more minute or until almost smooth.
Taste test time!
Dip a clean spoon into the food processor and have a taste.
Does it need anything else? More salt? More olive oil?
Add anything else in and then run the machine for another 30 seconds to incorporate.
Spoon the pesto into an airtight container or devour it right away!
How to Use your Spinach Basil Pesto
- as a dip for a slice of freshly baked bread
- tossed with some pasta and cut cherry tomatoes
- spread onto a pizza crust for homemade pizza night
- brushed onto chicken before grilling
- used as a veggie and cracker dip
- mixed with some more olive oil for a zesty salad dressing
- spread onto a tortilla then sprinkled with mozzarella cheese before cooking and making into a quesadilla
- use as a spread on your favorite turkey or chicken sandwich
- 1 cup basil stems removed
- 1 cup spinach stems removed
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, see notes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all of the ingredints as well as 1/4 cup olive oil into the food processor.
- Turn the machine on and let it run for 1 minute.
- Scrape down the sides. Add the additoinal 1/2 cup of olive oil if the pesto is still really thick and dry. I almost alwasys add in the extra amount.
- Turn the machine on and let it run for another minute.
- Spoon the pesto into an air-tighet conatiner and store in the fridge or freezer.