Rotini chickpea pasta with homemade pesto and tomatoes
Lunch & Dinner,  Recipes

Spinach Arugula Pesto

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Life shouldn’t be boring, and neither should your food! One of my favorite ways to mix up my food, is by changing up the sauces and dressings I use. Whether its for a pizza, salad, grain bowl, pasta, omelets, or for dipping, I’m always down to get sauce-y 😉 One of my favorites is pesto! Pesto pasta is one of my favorite pasta dishes, but pesto goes far beyond that! It takes a plain bowl of quinoa and veggies to the next level, a tasty alternative to red sauce on pizza, it is a great addition to omelets or is a perfect sauce for when you are looking to change up your chips and dip. While there are many great premade pestos available in stores (I’m looking at you TJ’s vegan kale pesto), there is nothing like fresh made pesto you make yourself! That’s where this spinach-arugula pistachio pesto comes in!

We were making chickpea pasta over the summer and I was craving it with pesto. I wanted to make homemade pesto, but we didn’t have any basil on hand. So instead of making a basil-based pesto, I turned to other greens we had! Arugula works great in pesto because of the bite it has, and spinach bulks up the pesto. I may be biased, but I think the result was quite delicious and adds some extra nutrients to your dish. (However, if you do have fresh basil on hand, you can substitute some of the greens with basil and it would turn out great!)

While typical pesto is made with pine nuts, I decided to use pistachios. Pistachios have been a staple in the Schulte household, and while I may not be as addicted as mom, I will never be the one to turn down a handful of nuts. They give the pesto a more distinctive taste. However, if you don’t like pistachios or don’t have them on hand, feel free to use pine nuts or another nut (walnuts, cashews, etc) in its place.

I kept this pesto vegan by omitting the typical presence of parmesan cheese, and added in nutritional yeast instead! If you haven’t heard of nutritional yeast, it is deactivated yeast that has a cheesy and nutty flavor. It is a great way to add “cheesy” flavor if you are trying to avoid dairy! Even if you aren’t vegan or dairy free (we are not!), I suggest giving it a try! I was a little skeptical at first, but I have grown to really enjoy cooking with it!

Alright, grab your ingredients and your food processor, and let’s get down to it! This recipe is super simple as all you have to do is throw the ingredients in and let the food processor do its job! I suggest starting with a few tablespoons of water along with the other ingredients to start, and then adding more water a tablespoon at a time while you blend to get your desired consistency. Once its all blended, throw it on top of your pasta of choice, add in some tomatoes, and voila, your weekday dinner is complete! If you aren’t feeling pasta, try it with a grain bowl or spice up a sandwich. I’d be surprised to find a situation where this pesto would not be a good addition to the meal.

This pesto is delicious, filled with nutrients, and its vegan! What are you waiting for?! Let us know if you give it a try, by tagging us @wholesomeandhappylife #wholesomeandhappylife.

Rotini chickpea pasta with homemade pesto and tomatoes

Spinach Arugula Pistachio Pesto

Becca Schulte
This vegan pesto is a a great way to get in some extra greens and is a delicious sauce to throw on pasta, top off a grain bowl, or eat it with spoon !
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course condiment, dinner, lunch
Servings 4 pasta servings


  • food processor


  • 1.5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1.5 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/3 cup pistachios shelled*
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried basil **
  • 4-5 tbsp water as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Put all ingredients, except water, in a food processor
  • Blend until desired consistency, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water at a time to get achieved thickness
  • Toss with cooked pasta and enjoy right away or save in the fridge or freezer for later enjoyment!


*We LOVE pistachios and it gives this pesto a unique flavor. However, feel free to use whatever nut you have on hand! Pine nuts are used in traditional pesto, but walnuts, cashews, or almonds could also be used. I recently made this again with a combination of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and it turned out GREAT!
**While I wanted to create a pesto that wasn’t strictly basil based, fresh basil would be a great addition to this pesto! Adjust amounts of greens according to how much basil you add. 
Keyword arugula, easy, pesto, pistachios, sauce, spinach, vegan

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