Select Page

Love Classic Pesto? Try These New Twists On Basil Pesto

Love Classic Pesto? Try These New Twists On Basil Pesto

One of the freshest sauces of summer, most often served over pasta, is Pesto. Pesto is defined in Italian as, “to pound, or crush,” and before the days of convenience by using food processors, the ingredients were combined using a mortar and pestle.

The classic pesto recipe frequently includes crushing pine nuts with basil, and garlic in olive oil with parmesan cheese. In addition to this traditional version, swap outs can be made for the basil, the nuts, and the cheese to turn a classic pesto recipe into a unique blend of flavors with the same fresh vibe. Plus, pesto is known to be great tossed with pasta, but it can be incorporated into other dishes, adding a bit of brightness with every herby bite!

Classic Basil Pesto Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves without stems 
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese 

Step-by-Step Instructions

STEP 1

Combine basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until all ingredients are finely chopped.

STEP 2

Drizzle olive oil in the running food processor until well-blended and smooth.

STEP 3

Finally, add the cheese and pulse one or two more times to mix.

One Ingredient Swaps For A Twist On Pesto

Pesto is an extremely versatile sauce, not just because you can put it over almost anything, but because you can customize it endlessly! Not a big fan of basil? Add parsley. No pine nuts on hand? Use almonds.
  1. Use spinach or kale instead of basil (be sure to remove any stems).
  2. Use parsley in place of the basil.
  3. Try walnuts instead of pine nuts.
  4. Pecorino Romano cheese swap for the parmesan.
  5. Add a bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice with the olive oil.
  6. Try roasting the nuts and/or garlic prior to combining.

Pesto Butter 

Follow the classic pesto recipe and combine one stick of softened butter in the final mixture. Pesto butter can be spread on toast, or a pat may be used when cooking steak, or in your favorite scampi sauce. 

Pesto Caesar 

After preparing the Classic Pesto recipe, reserve 2 tablespoons to combine with your favorite Caesar dressing. Pour over crispy romaine leaves, then toss with crunchy croutons and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan on top. 

Carrot Pesto Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cups of fresh parsley 
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots 
  • 1/3 cup of cashews 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • ½ cup of olive oil 
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese 

Step-by-Step Instructions

STEP 1

Combine basil leaves, chopped carrots, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until all ingredients are finely chopped.

STEP 2

Drizzle olive oil in the running food processor until well-blended and smooth.

STEP 3

Finally, add the cheese and pulse one or two more times to mix.

Cannellini Pesto Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup of classic pesto sauce 
  • 2 cans of drained cannellini beans 
  • 4-5 additional cloves of garlic 
  • 3-4 cups of chicken broth 
  • 1 cup of chopped celery 
  • ½ cup chopped olives of choice 
  • ½ cup diced, roasted red peppers 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Red pepper flakes if desired 

Step-by-Step Instructions

STEP 1

In a large saucepan or medium Dutch oven, warm olive oil and garlic cloves. Add red pepper flakes if desired.

STEP 2

Pour in cannellini beans and 1 cup of chicken broth. Stir and simmer until thickened. Stir in pesto.

STEP 3

Add celery, salt, pepper, 2 more cups of chicken broth and continue cooking 10 – 15 minutes over medium heat.

STEP 4

As the soup cooks, add more broth if desired. Add olive and peppers to heat through and simmer 5 more minutes before serving.

So, the next time you’re standing in your kitchen wondering what to make for dinner – start with a pesto and see where it brings you! Try it as a marinade for pork or chicken. Use it as a sandwich spread. Pesto is one of the most versatile sauces you can create in minutes and is sure to leave you feeling fed well. 

What's For Dinner?

20 Classic Pasta Shapes Your Family Will Love

With so many noodle options, we narrowed it down to our favorite pasta shapes for feeding our families.
Recipes

About The Author

Sharon MacGregor

Writing from her desk in New York, Sharon MacGregor is a contributing reporter, freelance writer, and blogger with a passion for human interest stories as well as meals shared with friends and family. Her blog, Fed Well includes recipes with upcoming tips to prepare foods for infants and toddlers, simple and seasonal cocktails, and easy modifications to create dishes respecting dietary restrictions including dairy and gluten intolerances. She loves entertaining for the ones she loves including her new grandbabies!

Recent Tweets

Pin It on Pinterest