Pasta with Spinach & Roasted Pepper pesto

Tonight, I once again made dinner for myself. I’ve always been a fan of pesto and I’ve made a roasted red pepper sauce before, so when I found a recipe for a roasted red pepper pesto I had to try it. It definitely did not meet my expectations. It seemed kind of bland and the small teaspoon of lemon zest was a bit overpowering. I think part of the bland issue was the fact that it’s a modified pesto – it uses spinach and almonds instead of basil and pine nuts (to be more budget-friendly). It’s not like the dish was inedible. I did like it, but I think I’ll be sticking to regular pesto and my other roasted red pepper sauce.

Spinach and Roasted Pepper Pesto Recipe


1 lb pasta

2 tablespoons roasted almonds

1 small clove garlic

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 cups baby spinach

2 tablespoons parmesan

salt and pepper


1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the almonds, garlic and lemon zest until finely chopped. Add the spinach, red peppers, oil, parmesan and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.

3. Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems dry.

For dessert I had a slice of fruit pizza, left over from our grill-out yesterday.

This was almost more delicious today then it was yesterday.

Here’s the recipe (from

1 pkg. (16.5 oz.) refrigerated sliceable sugar cookies, sliced
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups assorted cut-up fruit (kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, drained canned mandarin oranges)
1/4 cup apricot preserves, pressed through sieve to remove lumps
1 Tbsp. water
HEAT oven to 375°F.

LINE 12-inch pizza pan with foil; spray with cooking spray. Arrange cookie dough slices in single layer in prepared pan; press together to form crust. Bake 14 min.; cool completely. Invert onto plate; carefully remove foil. Turn crust over.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Spread over crust.

TOP with fruit. Mix preserves and water; brush over fruit. Refrigerate 2 hours.

The fresh fruit was a little pricey, but it was totally worth it!

About Nicole Hangartner

A college grad navigating the real world while trying to remain fashionable and well fed. View all posts by Nicole Hangartner

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