Don't Break Up with Basil, But Blend Up These Non-Basil Pestos, Too

Pesto isn't just exclusive to basil anymore (or pricey pine nuts either); the summer staple can be made with really any green, and you can get even more creative by using sun-dried tomatoes and more unconventional picks.
Related To:
FNK_KALE_PISTACHIO_PESTO_SPAGHETTI_H_.jpg

FNK_KALE_PISTACHIO_PESTO_SPAGHETTI_H_.jpg

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

If your pesto prowess starts and ends with picking up a jar of the stuff at the supermarket, listen up. Your own from-scratch pesto is super-easy to blend at home (and it tastes infinitely better). And get this: Pesto isn't just exclusive to basil anymore (or pricey pine nuts either); the summer staple can be made with really any green, and you can get even more creative by using sun-dried tomatoes and more unconventional picks. If you're never made your own before, start with Ina Garten's top-rated recipe for classic basil pesto, then move on to some of our favorite riffs, bound to be tossed into pasta, spread onto a sandwich and more. Now rev those food processors — let's get blending!

If you're departing from the classic basil blend for the first time, keep things familiar by opting for another leafy green. Food Network Magazine's Kale and Pistachio Pesto Spaghetti (pictured above) is green through and through with hearty kale, which adds a delightfully rich earthiness, and roasted, salted pistachios.

Turn a surplus of spinach into something a whole lot more satisfying than salad or a steamed situation. The pesto in Giada De Laurentiis'  Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto is a garlicky, mild blend that's super-quick to make, and it makes for an easy, no-cook sauce that's glorious slathered over juicy chicken.

CHIC_ARUGULA_PESTO_018.tif

CHIC_ARUGULA_PESTO_018.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Andrew Purcell

Andrew Purcell

Zippy arugula can do so much more than punch up a salad. You can use it to make a peppery pesto and slather it over meat, as in Food Network Magazine's healthy  Chicken with Arugula Pesto, which calls on almonds or hazelnuts as its source of nuttiness.

Your kids may turn up their noses at broccoli of the steamed sort, but converting these hearty crowns into a quick pesto is sure to please. After blending it, maybe with some basil for an added herbaceous note, spread the pesto over dough for Ellie Krieger's  Broccoli Pesto Pizza from Food Network Magazine, or make a meal of healthy Broccoli-Walnut Pesto with Pasta out of it.

Photo by: David Lang ©David Lang

David Lang, David Lang

If your CSA loot included in a treasure trove of chard, or you just couldn't resist these in-season fronds in the produce department, rest assured that it can play a part in your pesto game too. Follow Geoffrey Zakarian's lead and blend it into  Swiss Chard Pesto with Almonds and Pecorino.

Photo by: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Brian Kennedy , 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Giada's brilliantly red pesto is a far cry from its green cousin. Her recipe for  Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto is as easy as fetching your food processor and pulsing a jar of sun-dried tomatoes (oil included!) with fresh basil and garlic.

MUSHROOM PESTO CROSTINI Giada De Laurentiis Cooking Channel Dried Porcini Mushrooms, White Button Mushrooms, Walnuts, Cloves, Italian Parsley, Olive Oil, Parmesan, Baguette

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If we had to guess, the most you'd ever do to earthy mushrooms might be slice or even chop them, but they can take an even more deconstructed form. Giada throws white button mushrooms, as well as reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms, into her food processor with walnuts, garlic, parsley, olive oil and Parmesan to create a smooth, umami-packed spread for toasty  Mushroom Pesto Crostini.

Now that you've made your DIY pesto, put it to use in soups, salads and more with Food Network Magazine's guide  50 Things to Make with Pesto.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Use Up Your Big Bunch of Basil (Without Making a Caprese Salad)

Too much basil can be a good thing when you know how to use it.

Don’t Touch That Dial: No-Bake Summer Desserts

Take your pick of Food Network’s finest no-bake desserts that’ll keep your kitchen nice and cool.

Heading Off on Vacation? Don't Forget to Pack These Food-Focused Books

Even when we're out of the kitchen, our minds never wander far from delicious dishes, and we like our literature the way we like our pantry: overflowing with mouthwatering food.

Bowl + Spoon: Double-Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Shake up your summertime dinner routine with Sara Forte's new cookbook, Bowl + Spoon.

Warm Weather Trick: How to Keep Fruit Down in Sangria (VIDEO)

Watch this video to find out how Alton Brown keeps fruit down in sangria.

All the Zucchini Noodles

Just as one can never (never!) have too much pasta in life, the same can be true for zucchini noodles in season.

In Season: Plums

Finally…plum season has arrived! This juicy stone fruit is only in season a short period of time. Be sure to enjoy it while it lasts!

Picnic Foods Nutrition Experts Avoid

We asked expert dietitians from around the country which barbecue and picnic foods they tell their clients to avoid.