I plant basil in my garden every year. Well, actually, it's not a garden, but a lot of large pots sitting on my backyard patio. Pesto is easy to grow, delicious in almost any recipe, and the basis for the most common form of pesto. So I can use it in these wonderful recipes that all start with pesto.
Pesto is a sauce made by blending herbs with cheese and nuts. It's an ancient sauce, probably originating in Roman times. It's easy to make and so versatile. You can substitute spinach, mint, or arugala leaves for the basil. Try using Romano or Cotija cheese in place of the traditional Parmesan. And use cashews, walnuts, or almonds for the nuts. The one constant ingredient is olive oil: very good quality olive oil! Spicy and green extra virgin olive oil is necessary for the best pesto.
And then there are thousands of ways to use it. Spread it on bread when making chicken sandwiches. Toss it with roasted vegetables for a great side dish. Combine it with any hot cooked pasta for an elegant and super quick main dish. Mint pesto can even be used in desserts!
Start with Pesto Recipes
Pesto Meatballs with Orzo
In this creamy and rich casserole, pesto combines with meatballs and orzo for a delicious main dish.
Pesto Corn Salad
This fresh and delicious four ingredient recipe is a perfect accompaniment to a juicy grilled steak.
Melted Pesto Cheese Dip
With just three ingredients, you can create a fabulous appetizer your guests will love.
Turkey Pesto Casserole
This recipe combines some of my favorite foods: pesto, turkey, hash brown potatoes, and Alfredo sauce. Yum.
Pesto Brie Bruschetta
Crunchy french bread is topped with pesto, brie cheese and chopped tomatoes in this delicious recipe.
Pesto Stuffed Hamburgers
Really, one of the best ways to make hamburgers cooked on the grill better is to add pesto.
Creamy Pesto Meatballs
Onion, garlic, and green bell pepper add color and texture to this rich and delicious skillet meal. Serve it over hot cooked brown rice.
With just four ingredients, this fabulous summer recipe can be in the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta.
Turkey Pesto Cutlets
Pesto is used to coat turkey cutlets and help the crumb crust adhere. This simple recipe is packed full of flavor.
Use this delicious sauce to top ice cream, chocolate brownies, fruit tarts, or sorbet. Or swirl it through a chocolate cake batter before baking. It's a great condiment to have on hand.
Pesto Mashed Potatoes
Here's a super simple way to make mashed potatoes even better; stir in a little prepared pesto!
This fabulous appetizer recipe is so good you could almost serve it as a meal! (Almost...) I sometimes omit the sun-dried tomatoes for a simpler dish.
Pesto Peppers with Penne
Another three ingredient recipe! This is one main dish concoction that belongs in your 'quick and easy' repertoire.
Pesto Salmon Fettuccine
This elegant recipe is one I love to serve to guests. It's so easy to make, and very impressive.
Chicken Pesto Spinach Salad
Lemon juice and frozen chopped spinach added to pesto help keep the color bright green and add nutrition and flavor while cutting calories.
Pesto Meatballs with Fettuccine
Can you tell that I love pesto? This hearty dish is a variation on Pesto Peppers with Penne.
Pesto Chicken Packets
Get out the grill, use five ingredients, and a full meal is on the table in less than 30 minutes!
Tomato Pesto Spaghetti
Just three ingredients make this excellent recipe; use it only when you have garden-fresh tomatoes.
Salmon Pesto Rolls
I adore this cold sandwich; the combination of textures and flavors is simply superb.
Pesto Potato Salad
Add pesto and some chopped red bell peppers to deli potato salad; everyone will think you made it from scratch!
Asparagus with Pesto Tomatoes
Mix together chopped tomatoes with pesto and top hot cooked asparagus for a delicious side dish recipe.
Pumpkin Soup with Cilantro Pesto
Although this isn't a 'quick and easy' recipe, the cilantro pesto instructions help you understand how to create new flavors of pesto.