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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto

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This Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto is a quick and easy dinner recipe that comes together in 30 minutes. Every bite is bursting with flavor!

Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto served on a white plate.

Pesto and creamy sauces are two of my husband’s favorite pasta toppings.

I actually love pesto too: there is something so satisfying about the fresh herbs and luscious mouthfeel of pesto when compared to marinara sauce. But, I consider it more of a guilty pleasure because normally pesto is loaded with tons of oil, cheese, and fat – which makes it a less healthy alternative to marinara sauce.

While you can sometimes substitute other greens (kale, spinach, etc.) for some of the fat, I’ve never quite found a recipe that tastes perfect. A recipe that tastes just like the original pesto, but with more nutrition, and has less than half the calories of the original – until now.

Close up of Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto served on a white plate

This is a wonderful recipe for spring (thank you, CookingLight!). The pesto is lightened up with the addition of spinach, almonds and a bunch of fresh herbs.

The herbs were so aromatic, they filled up our house with the most wonderful smell!

The sauce is thick, almost an emerald green, and still has that richness of a traditional pesto. It coats the linguine so that every bite is super tasty. I followed the CookingLight recipe, except that I substituted whole wheat linguine for regular, used less olive oil, added chopped tomatoes, and used more spinach and garlic – which gave this an even more earthy flavor.

How to Make Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto – Step by Step

Place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove plastic wrap; cool slightly.

Spinach in a bowl covered with clingfilm

Place spinach, almonds, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor. Process until chopped.

Ingredients for Spinach Herb Pesto in a blender.

Add broth, juice, and salt; pulse 5 times. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended. Scrape into a bowl; stir in half of cheese. Cover with plastic wrap.

Spinach Herb Pesto in a white ramekin

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Cooked pasta in a bowl

As soon as the pasta is done, toss pasta with 1/2 cup pesto. Arrange about 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture on each of ; top each serving with 2 tablespoons remaining pesto, diced tomatoes, and 1 1/2 teaspoons remaining cheese.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto served on a square white plate

Can this linguine with spinach herb pesto be an easy weeknight meal?

Absolutely! This is definitely going to become a weeknight staple in our house because it is easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes. It’s filling and satisfying, and it’s a great way to sneak in extra veggies into your diet. It’s especially great for picky kids who may not want to eat spinach whole – but will totally love it in this pesto! It’s a family-friendly dinner that you can feel great about eating.

Is pasta with pesto healthy?

Traditionally, pasta isn’t often thought of as a healthy meal because it’s high in calories and refined grains. But this dish is packed with whole grains, fiber, and each serving has only 325 calories! If you want to make this recipe even healthier and gluten-free, you can use a lentil or chickpea based pasta (like this chickpea linguine). This is also a great dish to get some extra veggies in your meal! You can also make this a vegan dish by omitting the cheese.

Can you freeze spinach pesto?

Pesto freezes really well, and it’s a good idea to freeze fresh pesto in the spring and summer (when herbs are the most aromatic) so you can have it on hand all year long. To freeze small amounts of pesto, put spoonfuls into ice trays. Once frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to freezer bags. These are perfect to use as flavor-enhancers in salad dressings, soups, or even to mix into a bowl of rice or pasta. To freeze large batches of pesto, transfer to a freezer storage container, cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil, then seal. Having larger batches on hand works perfectly for those times when you want to throw dinner together quickly.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto on a white plate with a fork

Top tips for making Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto

  • When cooking the pasta, add it to salted, boiling water.
  • Cook the pasta al dente and don’t rinse it after you drain it.
  • If you have any left over pesto, keep in in a sealable glass jar and top it up with olive oil to keep it fresh.
  • Wash your herbs well before making the pesto.
  • Pesto freezes really well! Just portion it in ice cubes!

Check out these recipes for more healthy pasta dishes

If you have tried this Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

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Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto

Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto is a quick and easy dinner recipe that comes together in about 30 minutes! It’s a delicious way to sneak some extra veggies in, too!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 325kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons organic vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated and divided (about 1/4 cup)
  • 8 ounces uncooked whole wheat linguine
  • Diced tomatoes optional

Instructions

  • Place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl; cover bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove plastic wrap; cool slightly.
  • Place spinach, almonds, and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor. Process until chopped.
  • Add broth, juice, and salt; pulse 5 times. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended. Scrape into a bowl; stir in half of cheese. Cover with plastic wrap.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • As soon as the pasta is done, toss pasta with 1/2 cup pesto. Arrange about 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture on each of ; top each serving with 2 tablespoons remaining pesto, diced tomatoes, and 1 1/2 teaspoons remaining cheese.

Notes

Top tips for making Whole Wheat Linguine with Spinach Herb Pesto
  • When cooking the pasta, add it to salted, boiling water.
  • Cook the pasta al dente and don’t rinse it after you drain it. 
  • If you have any left over pesto, keep in in a sealable glass jar and top it up with olive oil to keep it fresh.
  • Wash your herbs well before making the pesto.
  • Pesto freezes really well! Just portion it in ice cubes!
Adapted from CookingLight 

Nutrition

Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 12.9g | Fat: 9.7g | Sodium: 327mg | Fiber: 8.3g
whole wheat linguine with spinached herb pesto-healthy food yummy, healthy delicious food, healthy food tips for picky eaters, picky kids meals

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