23 Simple Pesto Recipes That Make the Most of Your Summer Herbs
Nutty, cheesy, herbaceous and delicious—what's not to love about fresh pesto? These pesto recipes are super flavorful and can be used as pasta sauces, sandwich spreads and dips for your favorite veggies. Basil, tarragon, parsley and thyme all get a chance to shine in these versatile sauces. Recipes like our Garlic Scape Pesto and Avocado Pesto are bright and fresh.
Roasted Tomato & Almond Pesto
The delightful richness of Ellie Krieger's sundried tomato and almond pesto is a perfect partner for nutty whole-wheat pasta. It's also delicious spread on grilled chicken.
Classic Basil Pesto
Turn the bounty of summer basil into a delicious sauce with this easy pesto recipe. Try it stirred into a tomato or potato salad, or spread onto a sandwich in place of your favorite condiment.
Avocados add a silky consistency and cheese-like richness to this dairy-free pesto recipe. Toss it with pasta, spread it on baguette slices to make bruschetta, or use it for a healthy mayo substitute on your sandwich.
The French flavor of tarragon inspires this pesto, which is wonderful stirred into a simple fish or chicken soup and brings a je ne sais quoi to chicken salad.
Pepita & Cilantro Pesto
Cilantro and pepitas make an interesting alternative to basil and pine nuts in a simple pesto. Stir this cilantro pesto into a grain bowl or serve with chicken or fish.
Basic Herb Pesto
Use any herbs you have on hand (or surplus herbs growing in your garden) in this easy and flavorful pesto recipe. While pestos made from single herbs can be wonderful all on their own, it is also fun to play around with combinations of two or more. Some of our favorites are tarragon, chervil and parsley or mint and cilantro.
Garlic Scape Pesto
During the spring and early summer when garlic scapes are plentiful at farmers' markets and farmstands, this healthy garlic scape pesto recipe is a great way to enjoy their gorgeous garlicky flavor for weeks. Garlic scapes are the green, spiral-shaped sprouts that appear on the top of garlic plants in the spring. Regular garlic cloves can be used as a substitute for garlic scapes. Try the pesto with pasta, stir-fries, grilled fish, poultry or steaks or add it to scrambled eggs, soup or pasta sauces.
Lovage tastes like cardamom and celery had a baby. If you can't find lovage, increase basil to 1 3/4 cups and add 1 1/2 cups celery leaves. Recipe by Chef/Farmer Stacey Givens of The Side Yard Farm & Kitchen, Portland, OR.
Basic Basil Pesto
Simplicity reigns in this traditional sauce--just basil, garlic, cheese and olive oil. Our one modification? We like omega-3-laden walnuts in the mix for their crunch and delicate flavor, but pine nuts, almonds, pecans or even pistachios may be substituted for the walnuts.
Pine Nut Pesto
This basil and arugula pesto is ready in five minutes and perfect on bruschetta, sandwiches or pasta.
A cross between an enchilada sauce and mole, this pesto pairs well with grilled meat or vegetables.
Beet & Arugula Pesto
Sweet beets, peppery arugula and toasted pecans are blended together in this dairy-free, healthy pesto recipe. Try it spread on crostini or spooned over grilled chicken or pork.
In this dairy-free parsley pesto recipe, lemon juice and zest pack a citrusy punch to brighten any dish. Try it dolloped on grilled fish or stirred into pasta for an instant flavor boost.
This pesto is a great way to use fresh, flavorful spring arugula. Try tossing it with pasta, spread it on pizza instead of tomato sauce or use it as the base for a vegetable dip.
Goat Cheese Pesto
The taste of soft goat cheese is more present in this California version of pesto than Parmigiano-Reggiano is in a basil pesto. Consider it a multidimensional recipe: dip, sauce and spread.
Nutritional yeast gives this vegan pesto a cheesy flavor, while cashews make it creamy. For a nuttier flavor, use dry-roasted cashews or toast them yourself in the oven before processing. Smear this simple spread on sandwiches, toss with warm pasta, or use it as dip for crudités.
Roasted Tomato Pesto
The concentrated sweetness of slow-roasted tomatoes balanced with savory thyme and a touch of red-wine vinegar makes this healthy pesto recipe a must-try for any tomato lover. Try it in place of tomato sauce on your next pizza or as a "secret" ingredient in your next lasagna.
Green Pea Pesto
Who says all pestos have to be made with basil and pine nuts? This nut- and garlic-free pesto recipe will prove that all pestos are not equal. Sweet peas, parsley, basil and mint are blended with Parmesan cheese and a mild shallot, resulting in a fresh, tasty sauce that can be served with vegetables or pasta, or even used as a sandwich spread.
Pesto Trapanese (Tomato & Almond Pesto)
In a twist on classic pesto, this healthy recipe uses less oil than a traditional basil pesto, includes tomatoes and subs almonds for pine nuts. Try it tossed with whole-wheat pasta or slathered over grilled chicken or fish.
Since pesto is a "raw" sauce, the flavor of the olive oil is crucial to its success. Use the best first-cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil you can comfortably afford.
Chunky Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Try this quick, full-flavored sun-dried tomato pesto with roasted vegetables or as a sandwich spread.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
In the '70s, with the advent of New American cooking, sun-dried tomato pesto became something of a cliché-and was summarily forgotten on the culinary landscape. It's well worth a revival, especially when you cut down the fat and add a little vinegar for a nice spike.
A dollop of this vibrant herbal sauce is magic in soup and would also taste great with broiled salmon or lamb chops.