Pesto Penne with Spinach & Blistered Tomatoes

This simple, 25 minute gluten-free meal tastes like Summer (but is perfect all year round) and is a total crowd pleaser! Recipe has two basil pesto recipes - one more classic, one dairy-free and nut-free- both are quick and delicious!

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Pesto Penne with Spinach & Blistered Tomatoes

A 25 Minute Gluten-Free Dinner!

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New! I’ve added a cooking video to this page so you can see how easy it is to make this gluten-free Pesto Penne with Blistered Tomatoes & Spinach.

If you’re new to this website, as with all my recipes, there is a printable recipe with exact measurements and directions at the bottom of this page.

Hope you love it!

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Update August 2020: This pasta is never better than right now with Summer basil and tomatoes!

This Gluten-Free Pesto Penne with Blistered Tomatoes and Spinach checks all the boxes!

It comes together in 20 minutes, is super simple and delish!

Tonight I made it without spinach because I didn’t have any in the house and it was still so good!

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes

Original post…

This super quick and easy pasta dish is bursting with the flavors of Summer! And we love it all year round!

All you need is Gluten-free Pasta, Homemade Basil Pesto, fresh Baby Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes.

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes

This simple dish comes together in 20-25 minutes, and 4 simple steps:

1. Make the basil pesto while the pasta water boils.

2. Cook the pasta.

3. While the pasta cooks, saute the tomatoes until blistered.

4. After draining the pasta, toss the cooked pasta, pesto, spinach and tomatoes all in the same pan as the tomatoes and toss until the spinach wilts.

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes

That’s it!

For the basil pesto, our favorite simple recipe is below (as well as a vegan nut-free pesto below) or you can use a store bought one.

But the main reason we first made this recipe was because our garden was bursting with basil and this is a delicious way to use it!

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes

We now make it year round with store-bought basil and it is still so yummy!

The basil pesto recipe shown here is made with 8 ingredients:

fresh basil

freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

extra virgin olive oil

raw unsalted almonds

garlic cloves

salt and pepper

rice wine vinegar.

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes

And it couldn’t be easier!

Using a food processor (we’ve had a basic Cuisanart – Amazon affiliate link forever and it’s great for this!), pulse the basil, garlic and almonds a few seconds to get them break down a bit.

It will smell amazing immediately! And the almonds give it a little texture which is so satisfying!

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Then add the salt and pepper and pulse again.

Pro tip: Scrape down the sides to make sure it’s all blended well.

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Next, add in the Parmesan cheese and with the food processor running stream in the oil.

Pulse in the rice wine vinegar (just a touch but adds a nice brightness!) and your done!

gluten free basil pesto #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes

The pesto smells amazing and tastes even better! I could literally eat it by the spoonful!

I tend to make the pesto in the 10 minutes the tomatoes saute and pasta cooks, so the dish comes together really quickly!

You could also make the pesto ahead of time.

And it’s sooooo delicious!

Together, this pesto with the pasta, spinach and blistered tomatoes is packed with flavor and delicious!

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes

Hope you love it as much as we do!

PIN it!

pesto penne gluten free most made recipes #glutenfreerecipes



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5 from 1 vote

Pesto Penne with Spinach and Blistered Tomatoes

A super quick and easy gluten-free and vegetarian pasta dish that tastes like summer! Homemade Basil Pesto, Baby Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes with Gluten-free Pasta. 25 minutes beginning to end and delicious! Option for Vegan Nut-Free Basil Pesto below as well.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan optional
Keyword: gluten-free pasta recipe, 30 minute gluten-free dinner, pesto pasta, gluten-free pesto penne, basil pesto, dairy-free basil pesto, nut-free basil pesto
Servings: 3 -4 servings
Author: Healthy Gluten-free Family



  • 1 12 oz box Gluten-Free Pasta we used Barilla gluten free penne; we use Banza chickpea pasta for extra protein and fiber.
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach according to tastes
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved halved
  • 1 cup Basil Pesto store bought or homemade

Basil Pesto (for a vegan pesto, see below)

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons raw unsalted almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Alternatively, Vegan Basil-Pumpkin Seed Pesto (recipe from Urban Kitchen Apothecary)

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • cup olive oil plus more as needed
  • pinch of sea salt + black pepper


Basil Pesto

  • Place basil, garlic, almonds, salt and pepper in a food processor and run/pulse several times until finely minced, scraping down the sides as needed.
  • With the food processor running, stream olive oil into the top of the food processor. Scrape down the sides as needed and run food processor until well combined and mixture is smooth.
  • Add cheese and process briefly until combined.
  • Add rice wine vinegar and pulse a few times until just combined.
  • Set aside. Can be made ahead and kept in seal container in the refrigerator.

Vegan Basil Pumpkin Seed Pesto

  • Blend all the pesto ingredients together using a food processor or blender. I find a small food processor works best.
  • Note: if too thick or difficult to blend add an additional 1-2 tbsp olive oil as needed
  • Set aside. Can be made ahead and kept in seal container in the refrigerator.


  • Prepare pasta according to package (Note: I cooked in lightly salted water)
  • While pasta cooks, make the pesto if you haven't already.
  • While the pasta cooks, saute the tomatoes: in a large skillet, over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering (not burning). Add tomatoes, and stirring occasionally, cook 5-7 minutes or until tomatoes start to blister.
  • After draining pasta into colander, add cooked pasta to the skillet with the tomatoes, add basil pesto and spinach and over medium heat toss until spinach wilts, just a minute or two.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyGFfamily or tag #healthyGFfamily!


6 thoughts on “Pesto Penne with Spinach & Blistered Tomatoes

  1. I’m not sure I have ever seen the addition to with rice wine vinegar. What does this add to this recipe and would it made a big difference if left out?

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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