For a few weeks now we’ve been picking up a share of veggies at our CSA farm, and some weeks it’s a challenge to get all of those greens eaten before we go pick up the next bunch! As it gets warmer I’m also making lots of salads, including pasta salad, which my kids love. I wondered if I could find a way to “sneak” spinach or kale into the salad (AND my kids). This spinach pesto pasta salad is the result.

You’ll need:
– 1 lb pasta (penne, rotini, mini ziti, farfalle all work well)
– fresh spinach or other greens (4-5 handfuls of loose leaves)
– 3 or 4 cloves garlic
– olive oil
– balsamic vinegar (You can also replace the oil and vinegar with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette; I’m partial to Newman’s Own brand.)
– 2 to 4 ounces cheese (Parmesan and Romano are great, feta is also delicious, fresh mozzarella…whatever you like)
– grape tomatoes
– black olives
– artichoke hearts
– broccoli or any other favorite veggies
– salt and pepper

Cook pasta al dente, drain and set aside to cool.

Pesto ingredients:
4-5 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves, rinsed
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Process the ingredients above in a food processor until finely chopped. Add more vinegar/oil as necessary to make the mixture smooth. Add to cooled, drained pasta and mix. Add about 2 cups of grape tomatoes, 5 or 6 chopped artichoke hearts, and 1/2 cup chopped black olives. Stir in 2 ounces (or more) of grated Romano and Parmesan cheeses or cheese of choice. Lightly steamed, cooled broccoli is also great in pasta salad; feel free to add in your other favorite veggies, raw or lightly cooked and cooled. Mix all ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, and top with additional grated cheeses. Chill until served.

What’s your favorite way to eat spinach and other greens? We’ve got lots of weeks left to eat them this summer, so I’d love to hear about your recipes!