Menu Ideas

8 Ways to Get Creative with Pesto

By • June 18, 2013 • 11 Comments

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Read carefully because your culinary repertoire is about to expand exponentially. You may think that pesto is a one-herb sort of spread, that it made a vow to basil and has been faithfully committed ever since.

We're here to tell you to forget what you know.

That's right: pesto can be made out of practically any vegetable or herb that's green and flavorful. Arugula? Yes. Mint? Yes. Garlic scapes? Yes, please! And if your mind isn't spinning already, just think: you can add whatever nuts, oils, and cheeses you'd like (or leave out the cheese for a vegan alternative). Now that you know pesto's potential, it's time to get creative. Once you've found your favorite combination, toss it with pasta, spread it on sandwiches, use it as a dip for vegetables, or eat it by the spoonful.

Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto and Preserved Lemon Cream by fiveandspice

Mint-Pistachio Pesto
 by em-i-lis

Mango Salad with Fennel Frond Pesto
 by arielleclementine

Prosciutto and Fontina Panini with Arugula Pesto
 by PhoebeLapine

Chicken al Mattone with Thyme Pesto
 by Waverly

Grilled Aged Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Pistachio Sage Pesto
 by Emily Weinberger

Simple Vegan Pesto
 by Gena Hemshaw

Smoky Minestrone with Tortellini and Parlsey or Basil Pesto
 by WinnieAb

Tags: menu ideas, pesto, sauce, condiment, basil, herbs

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Comments (11)


almost 2 years ago jenniebites

that grilled cheese with arugula pesto is my hands-down favorite sandwich!


almost 2 years ago katekwfb

cilantro and pumpkin seed pesto........yummy


almost 2 years ago ryanm

In Lynne Rossetto Kasper's _Italian Country Table_ there's a stunning recipe for a mint, pistachio, and toasted almond pesto. It's become such a standard part of my repertoire--and anyone who's had it--that I forget it's not common knowledge. Like almost everything in that book, it's a real keeper.


almost 2 years ago Andy Beach

I've been making garlic scape & hazelnut pesto this spring! very tasty on grilled mozzarella cheese sandwiches!


almost 2 years ago Andrew Oliver

Ramp top / pistachio pesto ~ es muy deliceux!


almost 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

All beautiful!! Yum! And thank you for including mine!
Fiveandspice's grilled bread with thyme pesto is amazing!


almost 2 years ago Gret

I think I'll stay with my home grown and local basil or parsley pesto. It's the flavor - nothing against arugula.


almost 2 years ago JM

I'm a huge fan of arugula pesto and use it on crostini, in sandwiches and on pasta: http://www.myfoodandotherstuff...


almost 2 years ago Julie Allen Matthews

I made a fantastic mint & almond pesto last summer. We have loads of mint growing in our yard & I'm always looking for ways to use it.


almost 2 years ago spierson

My new favorite is kale and walnut pesto (blanched kale, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan). It's so delicious and versitile, I've made three large batches over the past few weeks.


almost 2 years ago amyc

I'm really fond of arugula pesto served over ricotta on toast.