Spinach and Red Pepper Pesto Pasta Salad

Here’s a creative way to sneak veggies into your family’s meal.  This dish sits well on a picnic table as well.


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 10 ounce package spinach, defrosted or 1 pound fresh baby spinach
  • 2 fat jarred roasted red sweet peppers
  • 1 clove garlic, or 1/2 medium onion, chopped (if raw garlic is too much for you)
  • 3/4 cup EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, more to pass around the table.


Cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, take spinach and place in blender or food processor.  Add red peppers and garlic and blend, slowly adding a steady stream of EVOO.  This mixture should form a smooth puree, but if it gets stuck and you need more liquid, add more EVOO and a squeeze of lemon juice to loosen things up.

In a large bowl, toss penne with spinach sauce, salt and pepper to taste and grated cheese.  Add more cheese if you like.  Serve with a Caprese tomato salad.

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray