You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

10 Homemade Pesto Recipes That Go Way Beyond Basil and Pine Nuts

Spoon University logo Spoon University 5/10/2018 Marissa Rodriguez

Pesto will always be the best pasta topper known to man kind; it's the perfect blend of herbs and nuts, and provides the most gorgeous sheen to just about any dish. Besides pasta, it's great on sandwiches as a spread, and it also adds depth to meats like chicken or steak, or fish like salmon. Or it can be thinned out with a little water or olive oil and used as a flavorful salad dressing.

Most traditional pesto recipes are made using pine nuts, basil, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. However, that's not the only way to enjoy this glorious sauce. Dislike the herby taste of basil? Allergic to pine nuts? Here's a roundup of 10 homemade pesto recipes that go way beyond basil. These recipes can be easily made in the comfort of your own home anddon't compromise on flavor. 

1. Non-Basil Pesto

a bowl of noodles with sauce and broccoli: Jon Carney on Instagram: “Walnut & Kale Pesto (A Great Alternative To Basil & Pine nut Pesto) #pesto #walnut #kale #food #foodie #yummy #delicious #eat #instafood…” © chillijoncarne on Instagram Jon Carney on Instagram: “Walnut & Kale Pesto (A Great Alternative To Basil & Pine nut Pesto) #pesto #walnut #kale #food #foodie #yummy #delicious #eat #instafood…”

This recipe is from my favorite Food Network morning show, The Kitchen. What I love about this recipe is that it uses just about any green, like kale, arugula, or mint. Walnuts are used here instead of pine nuts, giving the pesto a more vibrant and nuttier flavor. This recipe lasts in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for three months, so there's time to use it in different recipes.

2. Mint Pesto

a green plant in a glass bowl: homemade pesto recipes herb vegetable © Ellen Gibbs homemade pesto recipes herb vegetable

This recipe uses Marcona almonds as the nut of choice, as well as a combination of mint and parsley. This pesto has a "cool and zesty" flavor thanks to the mint, and I'm all for it. 

3. Beet Green Pesto

a close up of a wheel: homemade pesto recipes herb matcha © Grace DeLucia homemade pesto recipes herb matcha

This homemade pesto recipe uses an ingredient that's often overlooked and not used enough by anyone: beet greens, or the leafy greens that come attached to raw beets at the grocery store. In addition to beet greens, this recipe features a mix of delicious nuts and seeds like pecans, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds. This pesto is a serious health boost, with antioxidants thanks to pumpkin seeds, as well as essential amino acids thanks to the hemp seeds.

4. Vegan Pesto

a close up of a bowl: homemade pesto recipes matcha green tea © Brooke Daly homemade pesto recipes matcha green tea

This vegan pesto recipe packs in a good amount of protein by using two of the traditional pesto ingredients, basil and pine nuts, in addition to ingredients you wouldn't think to use, like spinach, onion, broccoli, and cannellini beans. Talk about health in a dip! To replace the Parm, this recipe uses nutritional yeast, an ingredient that gives it a plant-based, cheesy taste.

5. Avocado Pesto

a bowl of food on a plate: homemade pesto recipes vegetable basil © Emma Brant homemade pesto recipes vegetable basil

This five-minute avocado pesto recipe is ultra creamy, and omits any kind of nut (perfect for those allergic to them). This recipe is great if you have limited ingredients and don't have a lot of time to prepare a weeknight meal. Spread it on toast, eat it on zoodles for a healthy "pasta," or just add it to anything you want. 

6. Arugula Pesto

a plate of food with broccoli: Pastaaddict on Instagram: “#Repost @nghigetsanotherplate (@get_repost) ・・・ No basil? Use arugula! 🌿No pine nuts? Use cashews! ☺️ Arugula pesto pappardelle #pestopasta…” © pastaaddict on Instagram Pastaaddict on Instagram: “#Repost @nghigetsanotherplate (@get_repost) ・・・ No basil? Use arugula! 🌿No pine nuts? Use cashews! ☺️ Arugula pesto pappardelle #pestopasta…”

This homemade pesto recipe uses arugula and walnuts in addition to Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon, and walnut oil. This packs in lots of omega 3's from the walnuts and walnut oil, and a vibrant green color from the arugula. 

#SpoonTip: Use olive oil if you don't have walnut oil. It'll work just as well, but will give the pesto a slightly different flavor.

7. Kale Pesto

a plate of food with broccoli: Gabriella Cervelli on Instagram: “#kalepesto #kalepestopasta #kalerecipes” © sgamenade on Instagram Gabriella Cervelli on Instagram: “#kalepesto #kalepestopasta #kalerecipes”

The BBC made our favorite trendy superfood into a pesto recipe and I'm all about it. I love kale in salads, but in pesto? Game changer. This recipe keeps in the fridge for a week if covered with a little more olive oil to keep it from drying out. It's also vegetarian-friendly and the Parmesan can easily be substituted with your preferred alternative. 

8. Spinach Parsley Pesto

a bowl of noodles with sauce: Shannon Fahey on Instagram: “NEW RECIPE on the blog today: Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto! Super simple, incredibly tasty, and perfect for those nights where all you want…” © simplyshannonagins on Instagram Shannon Fahey on Instagram: “NEW RECIPE on the blog today: Vegan Spinach Parsley Pesto! Super simple, incredibly tasty, and perfect for those nights where all you want…”

Parsley in pesto? Never tried it, but I'm totally intrigued. Adding this herb to pesto, in addition to vitamin and mineral-rich spinach, walnuts, and dairy-free nutritional yeast, makes for a delectable spread that I would be perfect on a grilled cheese sandwich. 

9. Vegan Cashew Pesto

a plate of food with broccoli: Rachael DeVaux, RD, CPT on Instagram: “Pasta & dairy-free pesto on the menu tonight 😊 this stuff is amazing— so easy to prep for a few days ahead! Add a spoonful to basically…” © rachaelsgoodeats on Instagram Rachael DeVaux, RD, CPT on Instagram: “Pasta & dairy-free pesto on the menu tonight 😊 this stuff is amazing— so easy to prep for a few days ahead! Add a spoonful to basically…”

Raw cashews blended with nutritional yeast, olive oil, and basil leaves make for the most delicious vegan pesto that can be enjoyed by animal-eaters and non-animal eaters alike. The cashews add lots of copper and plant-based protein, and make the pesto extra rich and creamy. 

10. Pea Pesto

a plate of food that is on the side of fries: Alexis + Ariana on Instagram: “Doesn’t have to be Friday to have some sweet potato fries 🍠😍 We actually enjoy making them ourselves rather than buying them pre-made from…” © twinstahealth on Instagram Alexis + Ariana on Instagram: “Doesn’t have to be Friday to have some sweet potato fries 🍠😍 We actually enjoy making them ourselves rather than buying them pre-made from…”

Peas are a great way to add more color, thickness, and protein to pesto, without compromising on flavor. Giada de Laurentiis takes the crown again for creativity and ingenuity, but why am I not surprised?

Homemade pesto lasts about 5-7 days in the fridge or about 3-4 months in the freezer, so there's time to enjoy it now, as well as later. Whatever your mood or food preference, there's a pesto option for you. Get creative by using a blend of different leaves and nuts, and you'll be surprised with what you can come up with. 

Related video: Rachael's Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe Pesto (provided by the Rachael Ray Show)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT
AdChoices

More from Spoon University

Spoon University
Spoon University
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon