Use this spinach pesto in other dishes, too. For example, make a double batch of the sauce (using 1 cup of water instead of the pasta cooking water called for below), and spoon it over grilled chicken or fish or toss it with hot cooked potatoes. The pesto will keep for several days in the refrigerator.


 12 ounces penne pasta
1 package (10 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup chopped basil
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. In a food processor, combine the spinach, basil, walnuts, garlic, mayonnaise, Parmesan, and salt, and puree until smooth.
  3. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl, add the reserved pasta cooking water and the pasta, and toss to combine.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Facts

per serving
calories 380
total fat 9.3g
saturated fat 1.7g
cholesterol 6mg
dietary fiber 5g
carbohydrate 61g
protein 14g
sodium 486mg

Good source of: beta carotene, folate, riboflavin, selenium

Kitchen Tip

Jars of pre-chopped basil are available in the supermarket. The basil is packed in water and can usually be found in the refrigerated section of the produce department.

Many of the recipes in this book contain off-the-shelf foods to help keep recipe prep effort to a minimum – a benefit for your arthritic hands. However, some foods – like canned beans – can hike up sodium levels. If you are carefully watching your sodium, be sure to read this before preparing this recipe: Sodium Intake and Salt in Recipes

From The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for Arthritis Health, edited by John A. Flynn, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.R. and Lora Brown Wilder, Sc.D., M.S., R.D.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 02 Nov 2011

Last Modified: 02 Jul 2014