Instant pot spinach pesto pasta is creamy, delicious and super easy to make. As you can assume this recipe uses pesto with spinach leaves. Pesto sauce for pasta is usually made using basil leaves & pine nuts but you can also make pesto pasta without basil leaves if you have spinach at home.
Its also very nutritious from the greens that we add (the spinach leaves) and the best part is that this is a kid friendly recipe. My kids told me this was so delicious and so this is approved by picky kids too! If you are trying to sneak veggies into your kids diet, this may be an easy way to do.
Instead of pine nuts, I have used cashews in this recipe. Since we use nuts to make the pesto sauce, this recipe is not suitable for those who have a nut allergy. The combination of cashews & spinach gives the best color of pesto sauce without using basil leaves & pine nuts (which is the popularly used to make pesto).
I love the simplicity of this instant pot spinach pesto pasta recipe, since this is so easy to make in the instant pot.
Though I made this dish in the instant pot to make it a super easy meal, you can also make this creamy and delicious pesto pasta with spinach leaves on stove top as well in the traditional way.
How To Make Pesto With Spinach?
In this recipe, we make pesto with spinach leaves. If you love green pesto sauce for pasta, you probably know we need basil leaves to make the pesto sauce.
But I think spinach is a more common ingredient that we all will probably have in the pantry already, so why not make colorful, healthy and creamy pesto with spinach leaves!
To make this pesto with spinach, we use fresh spinach leaves. To add the creaminess to the sauce, we use raw cashews which is blended with spinach leaves.
In this instant pot pesto pasta recipe, we cook the pasta in the instant pot, add the prepared pesto sauce and some more ingredients like cheese, to make it really delicious.
So let us see how we can make this creamy spinach pesto pasta in instant pot.
How To Make Instant Pot Spinach Pesto Pasta
We need the following ingredients to make this creamy and delicious instant pot spinach pesto pasta.
- bow tie pasta (may use another type of shells)
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- spinach leaves
- olive oil
- shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend, if you don't have it you can use cheddar)
Steps To Follow (The Process)
- Blend the spinach leaves and cashews along with 2 cups of water until very smooth using a blender. Keep this prepared pesto sauce aside.
- Add the pasta and 4 cups of water to the instant pot, also add enough salt, garlic powder and onion powder and mix in.
- Also add the butter and close the pot with lid in sealing position.
- Press the manual button and cook in high pressure for one minute. Once the cooking is done, press the 'keep warm/cancel' button and wait for a natural pressure release for 12 minutes.
- After the natural pressure release for twelve minutes is over, carefully do a gradual manual pressure release to release the remaining pressure.
- Once the pressure is all released, carefully open the lid and add the prepared pesto sauce.
- Now add the milk and olive oil, gently stir the contents.
- Also add the shredded cheese and stir well to combine with the pasta. The delicious and creamy spinach pesto pasta is ready to serve, enjoy the pasta hot (probably sprinkled with oregano powder or black pepper powder for even more flavor if you like).
Tips & Tricks To Make The Best Spinach Pesto Pasta
- Make sure to use good quality, fresh spinach leaves. I didn't try using frozen spinach leaves, since I made this with fresh spinach leaves, I recommend using fresh leaves to make this pesto pasta.
- Cashews is a must ingredient for this recipe for the best results and creamy texture!
- Make sure to do a manual pressure release after a natural pressure release of 12 minutes for this recipe, since the pasta is perfectly cooked at this time and if you wait for more time the pasta can turn mushy.
- For the cheese, I used good quality Mexican style shredded cheese. If you do not have that, you can also use cheddar cheese or any of your favorite cheese for the pasta. However, some pre shredded cheese comes with added ingredients which can clump the pasta shells, so make sure to use freshly grated or shredded pasta or use the one that you are familiar.
- Also make sure to serve this spinach pesto pasta hot for the best taste!
To Make Spinach Pesto Pasta On Stove Top
However, if you wish to make this on the stove top, you can prepare the pasta in the traditional way, drain the cooked pasta and mix with the prepared pesto mixture. If you do that, you may cook the spinach pesto in advance in a different saucepan before adding to the pasta.
Also if you are planning to make this on the stove top, you don't need to add water while making the spinach cashew mixture for pesto. Instead, you can process the spinach leaves & cashews in a food processor, cook the mixture in a saucepan and add it to the cooked pasta and then add the cheese you need.
To make it even taste more delicious, you can blend the cooked spinach cashew mixture (once its cooled) in a blender along with milk and cheese to make the creamy and cheesy spinach pesto sauce and add the prepared spinach pesto sauce to the cooked pasta and toss the pasta very well.
Can You Make This Pesto Pasta Vegan?
This spinach pesto pasta recipe is not vegan but its vegetarian. We use butter, milk and cheese in the recipe which are all dairy products so its not suitable for vegan diet.
You may try replacing the butter and milk with vegan butter and coconut milk respectively, which should work I guess. And also you may totally skip the cheese and use vegan options that you are familiar with for the cheese part if you wish. Here is a very good vegan pesto pasta using basil leaves (recipe here) I found though its not made using spinach leaves.
More Instant Pot Pasta Recipes
- instant pot buttered egg noodles
- instant pot pumpkin mac and cheese
- instant pot spaghetti noodles
- instant pot penne pasta
- instant pot pasta soup
- instant pot peas and egg noodle soup
Instant Pot Spinach Pesto Pasta
for the sauce
- 2 cups spinach leaves
- 1 cup cashews soak the cashews in water before making the sauce if you want it very smooth
- 2 cups water
- Add washed spinach leaves and cashews to a blender. Also add 2 cups of water and blend until very smooth. Keep this prepared pesto sauce aside.
- Add the pasta shells to the instant pot and also add the 4 cups of water. Sprinkle enough salt, garlic powder and onion powder, gently mix in.
- Place the butter on top and close the pot with lid in sealing position.
- Press manual button and cook in high pressure for 1 minute. Once the cooking is done, wait for a natural pressure release for 12 minutes and then carefully do a controlled manual pressure release.
- Once the pressure is all released, carefully open the lid and add the prepared spinach pesto sauce to the pot.
- Also add the milk and olive oil, gently mix.
- Finally add the shredded cheese and stir well to combine with the pasta.
- Serve hot sprinkled with oregano powder (& also add red chili flakes or black pepper powder if you wish). Make sure to always serve this hot, so if its cooled you can reheat and serve.