Roasted Asparagus and Sunflower Seeds with Spinach-Walnut Pesto

Like I mentioned the other day, Mike is on Spring break. Lucky for me, I was able to take off time to spend with him. Unlucky for me, so far his break has consisted of wearing the same sweatpants and sweatshirt for the past three days, lying on the couch, watching Law and Order: SVU reruns, watching an entire day’s worth of Opening Day baseball games while checking up on his two fantasy baseball leagues, and napping. Exciting, right?

I don’t know what I thought we would be doing, but watching Mike laze-away the day was not it.

We are in the middle of the week before we get paid. My parents’ referred to this as lean week when we were growing up. It is too bad that lean week happened to fall on the week Mike has Spring break. We are now referring to Spring break as “Spring Broke.”

Until Friday comes, we are cooking every meal at home. While trying to stretch what is left of last week’s groceries, I came up with this gem. The asparagus tossed in the pesto sauce makes a great, easy side dish. What was even nicer, is the next day, I chopped up the leftover asparagus and tossed it with cooked pasta and the remaining pesto. Look at this “Spring Broke” miracle! Two great dinners in a row, and on a budget nonetheless!

Let me tell you this. When Friday rolls around, and my fridge is totally barren, we are going on a grocery shopping spree of mammoth proportions and then heading out to eat for dinner!

Roasted Asparagus and Sunflower Seeds with Spinach-Walnut Pesto

Course Side Dish/Vegetable
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 -6
Author Sarcastic Cooking


  • 1 Pound Trimmed Asparagus
  • 1 Tablespoon Raw Unsalted, Shelled Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • For the Pesto:
  • 1 ½ Cups Fresh Spinach
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Parsley
  • ¼ Cup Walnuts
  • ¼ Cup Fat-Free Feta Cheese Crumbles
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Arrange the asparagus on a small baking sheet. Toss the asparagus together with the olive oil, sunflower seeds, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven, tossing asparagus once, for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden.
  3. While the asparagus roasts, add the spinach, parsley, walnuts, feta, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  4. Toss the roasted asparagus and sunflower seeds with a tablespoon or two of the pesto, or serve the roasted asparagus and sunflower seeds with a few tablespoons of the pesto on top or underneath it. Asparagus lasts one to two days wrapped in tinfoil in the refrigerator. Pesto lasts three to four days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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  • Susan
    April 4, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    I adore asparagus and pesto together, especially tossed in some pasta!

  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine)
    April 4, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Asparagus is my absolute fave–I cannot WAIT until it’s in season out here!

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out
    April 3, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    …this is getting freaky. I am planning on making spinach pesto tomorrow for a couple of recipes.

    STOP IT HOW ARE WE ALWAYS IN SYNC LIKE THIS? (I wanted to type N*Sync at first)

  • Sadye
    April 3, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    I applaud your creativity! While a mostly empty fridge is no fun, there is a certain thrill to the challenge of combining whatever’s left in there.

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    April 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    What a fun way to enjoy asparagus! Total bonus that you can use leftovers to make a pasta meal. Pasta with pesto is one of my favorite things.
    PS. Men just have completely different ideas about relaxing. Whenever I have holidays and stay around home, I end up doing so much cleaning and errand-running that I barely sit down! In fact, I think I’d go stir crazy if I spent that much time lazing around!

  • Julia
    April 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I almost always make a vegetable on the side of our meals and get pretty bored with my recipes. This is a great twist on asparagus–love that pesto. I bet that would be good on lots of other things too!

  • Kari@Loaves n Dishes
    April 3, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Roasting is my favorite cooking method for asparagus. Love that you added feta to the pesto…heck I just love the pesto, period!