Recipes - Pickles & Dips

Whole Lemon Spinach Pesto

I must spend at least as much time reading the food blogs of others as I do writing posts to feature here at In some ways the reading bit is more enjoyable than the writing. Not just because it requires less brain power but because my fellow foodies are a big source of inspiration. Take for example “Whole lemon dressing” – a recent post from Chef Mimi that caught my eye.

Mimi’s whole lemon dressing uses the entire lemon. It was the first time I’d seen this – a technique that puts to good use the pith (the white inside bit) and the skin (or peel). Too often these parts of the lemon are discarded without a second thought, but it seems they can be just as valuable as the pulp (or juice).

Whole lemon spinach pesto

Reading about the impressive ‘whole lemon’ idea inspired this, my first post of Spring. My zesty spinach pesto is easy to make and is super healthy. And, although I’ve called it pesto it’s very versatile and can easily be used as a pasta sauce or a salad dressing. Since making a giant batch last week I’ve been enjoying a daily fix.

Before I dive into the recipe a few tips:

  • The lemon. Given the whole lemon is used be sure to choose one that’s unwaxed, or find a technique online (there are many) to remove the wax from a waxed lemon.
  • The spinach. Not a fan of Popeye’s green of choice? Don’t let this put you off – simply substitute the spinach with kale, basil, parsley or even lightly cooked broccoli.
  • The cheese. It’s optional – this pesto can easily be made without the Parmesan to create a vegan version. You could always throw in a handful of pinenuts or walnuts for extra flavour.

Whole lemon spinach pestoWhole lemon spinach pesto

Ingredients (makes around 5-6 medium jars)

  • Approx 500g spinach (English or baby spinach)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large lemon (unwaxed)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g Parmesan cheese, chopped into small cubes (optional)
  • Salt & pepper


  • Wash and dry the spinach and then roughly chop it.
  • Wash the lemon and then slice it into 8 – 10 pieces before removing the seeds.
  • Gradually add the spinach, garlic, lemon pieces and Parmesan into a food processor.
  • Process until eventually combined, gradually adding in the olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper and give it a final blitz until you have a smooth consistency.
  • Transfer into jars, top each with a little olive oil and store in the refrigerator.
  • Sterilise the jars first if you’re keen to keep it for more than 5-7 days.

Whole lemon spinach pestoAlso before I go a shout to out to Fiesta Friday #188 where I’m sharing this post. Thanks to Angie and her co-hosts for this week’s collection of recipes….


Here are some more pesto like Feast Wisely posts you may like:







32 thoughts on “Whole Lemon Spinach Pesto

  1. Reading is way better than writing blog posts, but you get too much inspiration at the same time and you want to make everything soon!πŸ˜‚ This sounds absolutely delicious, Laura! And the color is so vibrant!! Thanks for sharing and happy Fiesta Friday!

  2. Fantastic!!! Something happened because I though I’d always followed you. It’s happened before, though, so it must just be some kind of glitch. This is truly brilliant! And I love that you used spinach with the lemon, and not basil. I can’t wait to try this! And thank you!

  3. This definitely deserves a try! I’ll be looking for organic meyer lemons for this. I hope using whole lemons won’t give it a bitter aftertaste?? Supposedly the pith is bitter but I’ve never actually tasted it, except in preserved lemons and it’s not bitter there.

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