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Tonight’s Dinner: Spinach tortellini with roasted tomato spinach pesto recipe

When people have pasta and pesto, it’s usually a leafy green ground up with olive oil, garlic and Parmesan cheese. But why limit yourself to green veggies? Add some heirloom tomatoes for a pesto that’s hearty and delicious.

Although I’ve only discovered pesto sauce in the past couple of years, it’s easily become one of my favorite pasta sauces for a few reasons. First it’s super easy to prepare. Second, the pesto doesn’t have to be hot; it can go straight from your food processor to your pasta dish and be amazing.

When I first started eating pesto, I was making the classic basil recipe, but then I discovered you could use any leafy green to make pesto. Since then, I’ve used spinach, arugula and even peas. Each version is flavorful and they’re all just as easy to make as the classic basil. But a couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to try a tomato pesto. When I asked the chef what made the tomato topping a pesto and not just a sauce, he told me it was the nuts. Adding walnuts or pine nuts is what turns that basic sauce into a pesto. I couldn’t believe it was that easy. So after tasting that wonderful pesto, I decided to make my own, but instead of using just tomatoes or a leafy green, I decided to use both. I’m so glad I did because the result was absolutely delicious.

Spinach tortellini with roasted tomato spinach pesto

Serves 4


  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Grana Padano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 (9 ounce) packages spinach tortellini


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Slice the tomatoes in quarters and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and two tablespoons olive oil. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and browned around the edges. Let the tomatoes cool for five to 10 minutes.
  3. Place the roasted tomatoes in a food processor with the spinach, walnuts and cheese and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and blend until smooth and creamy. Add the salt and pepper and mix until just combined; set aside.
  4. Make the tortellini according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and separate between the four dishes. Spoon the pesto over the tortellini and serve.

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Angel hair pasta with almond pesto

Classic Genovese pesto

Grilled salmon with pecan pesto

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