15 Best Recipes with Pesto

Here are all the best recipes with pesto, to give ideas of how to use this green sauce in your cooking! Plus, a go-to basil pesto recipe.

Recipes with pesto

What’s better than a swirl of sparkling emerald green pesto? It adds a garlicky, savory, irresistible flavor to just about anything! From pasta to pizza to grilled cheese, everything is better with a little pesto. Right?

Pesto is a sauce that originates in Italy. The word pesto comes from an Italian word that means “pounded” or “crushed”. A pesto can refer to any type of sauce that is crushed. Pesto alla genovese, the version of pesto from Genoa, Italy, is the most popular version. It features basil, pinenuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. Since it’s the most popular variety, recipes below all feature basil pesto. And the first one: our go-to classic basil pesto. Ready to get started?

And now…the best recipes with pesto!

How to freeze homemade pesto

The best way to store homemade pesto for long periods of time is to freeze it! You can refrigerate for 5 days, but to extend the life we recommend the freezer. Here’s how to freeze basil pesto:

  • Pour the pesto into an ice cube tray and pop in the freezer.
  • Once frozen, remove the cubes and place them in a freezer safe sealed container.
  • When you’re ready to eat, you can pop out small servings of pesto. Place them in a container and allow to come to room temperature on the counter or in the refrigerator.
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Basil pesto

Favorite Basil Pesto


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 heaping cup (18 tablespoons) 1x

Description

The best way to use up a boatload of fresh basil? Pesto, of course! Here’s our best basil pesto recipe, made the classic Italian way.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted pine nuts, cashews, or walnuts*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus additional as needed

Instructions

  1. In a small dry skillet, toast the nuts over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the nuts to a bowl and allow them to cool slightly. (This step is optional, but brings out a more robust flavor in the nuts.)
  2. In food processor**, combine the nuts, cheese, and peeled garlic. Process until finely ground, 20 to 30 seconds.
  3. Add the basil, lemon juice and kosher salt. Turn on the food processor and gradually pour in the olive oil. Once combined, turn off the food processor. Blend in a bit more olive oil if desired, to achieve a looser texture. Stores for about 1 week in the refrigerator and several months frozen.

Notes

*Pine nuts are traditional, but can be expensive. Cashews and walnuts also have great flavor and are easier to find. You can use any of these variations!

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Recipes with Pesto, Basil Pesto Recipe

More pesto recipes

You can make pesto with ingredients other than basil! Here are a few other recipes:

  • Red Pepper Pesto This red pepper pesto features roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, and walnuts, blended together to form a firey red pesto.
  • Garlic Scape Pesto Pesto made with garlic scapes, if you find them at your farmers market! It works with grilled meat, spread onto pizza, or swirl in a yogurt dip!
  • Mint Pesto Swap out basil for mint! This one features pepitas (pumpkin seeds) instead of pine nuts.
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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