13 Fresh Takes on Basic Homemade Pesto
We'll always love the classic! Delicious basil-based pesto with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil is fresh, vibrant, and versatile. But there's more to pesto than a single traditional recipe can contain. As Chef John explains, "Pesto isn't a recipe, but a technique" -- and as such, it's friendly to all manner of updates and substitutions. Pesto's also easy to make at home. Try these exciting takes on traditional pesto recipes in pastas, as coatings for roasted chicken and salmon, as toppings for pizzas and toasts, and much more.
Pesto with Arugula
Here's a uniquely peppery pesto that combines arugula with fresh basil. "Use as a spread or on pasta," says Mark. "My favorite is on baguette slices or on whole wheat crackers."
Walnut and Parsley Pesto
"The buttery walnuts temper the fire of the mashed garlic and pair beautifully with the aromatic, bittersweet parsley," says Chef John. "Use on toasted bread, pizza, pasta, or on roasted chicken -- it's that versatile!"
Fresh cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and cotija cheese get it done here! Serrano chile pepper provides a touch of heat.
Ginger Garlic Pesto
This variation features green onions and fresh ginger. "A delicious sauce for almost any type of dish," says Amy. "It's full of flavor, and we love it on fish, pasta, or chicken. We make multiple batches and store in the fridge for quick use throughout the week."
"Rich, earthy sauce that clings to penne pasta to make a hearty, meatless meal," says Jewels Cooks. "Stir pesto into freshly cooked penne pasta, add to the top of crostini, or use as a dip for Italian-seasoned pita crisps."
Creamy Avocado Pesto
"This is an ingenious way to make pesto," says nickbobkysr. "If you like avocado or guacamole even a little bit, you need to try this recipe!"
Fresh cilantro, peanut butter, fresh ginger, and a touch of fish sauce deliver a full-flavored Thai-inspired pesto. "Add the taste of Thai to noodles, salad, rice, or any dish with this versatile, full-flavored sauce!" says she_cooks. "Serve immediately or refrigerate in an air-tight container until needed."
Swiss Chard and Pecan Pesto
Swiss chard mingles with fresh basil and pecans in this version. "I love this pesto," says HAZELNUT. "I have so much Swiss chard in my garden that I've made 6 batches so far -- it's the best use of all this delicious chard that I can think of."
Easy Kale Pesto
Kale gets it done in this twist on the traditional. "Kale pesto never loses its vivid green color and can be prepared year-round," says ScandoGirl. "Use a robust extra-virgin olive oil for maximum flavor."
Chef John's Almond Arugula Pesto
"Arugula is a beautiful herb," says Chef John. "Fragrant, spicy, crisp; it makes a great pesto. I paired it with raw almonds for a combo that was just amazing on a grilled hanger steak."
Spinach and Garlic Scape Pesto
"This is a great way to use garlic scapes - the curly green tops of garlic that you can get from the farm early in the growing season!" says KARENMOLLOY. "The spinach cuts down some of the super-strong garlic flavor. Use as a sauce for hot pasta, a spread for sandwiches, mixed with mayo for a spread or dip, mixed with ranch dressing for salad. The possibilities are endless!"
Green Pea Pesto
Made with green peas, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and a splash of lemon juice for a slightly sweeter version of the classic sauce. "This is a heavier, sweeter twist to traditional basil pesto," says Katy Hopkins. "Goes well with pasta or spread over bread and covered with cheese...yum! Add more lemon juice, basil, or garlic to taste."