Mix-and-Match Pesto

Create your perfect version: The possibilities are endless!
Related To:

1. Pick a nut or seed

Toast 1/3 cup in a dry skillet until lightly browned; let cool. Pulse in a food processor until finely ground.

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds)
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts


2. Choose your base

Add 3 cups total (choose up to 3).

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Collard greens, chopped
  • Kale, chopped
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Romaine, chopped
  • Spinach, chopped
  • Watercress


3. Choose your seasoning

Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon total of the following ingredients (choose up to 3); add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and pulse until finely chopped.

  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh oregano, chopped
  • Fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Garlic, chopped
  • Lemon zest, grated
  • Orange zest, grated
  • Red pepper flakes


4. Pick a cheese

Grate 1/2 cup, add to the food processor and pulse to combine.

  • Aged cheddar
  • Aged or smoked gouda
  • Asiago
  • Grana padano
  • Gruyere
  • Manchego
  • Parmesan
  • Pecorino


5. Finish the pesto

Slowly pour in 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, pulsing to incorporate. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of any of the following (optional). You'll have about 1 cup pesto; use about 1/2 cup for 1 pound pasta.

  • Fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • Mascarpone
  • Olives, pitted and chopped
  • Ricotta
  • Roasted red peppers, chopped
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, chopped


Design your own dinner, or try one of our ideas:

Arugula-Basil Pesto with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Ricotta

Kale Pesto with Walnut and Parmesan

Romaine Pesto with Sesame Seeds, Asiago and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pesto Pasta Recipe Ideas

See All Photos

Make the most of fresh herbs with these quick pesto ideas from Food Network Magazine.

Kale Pesto with Walnut and Parmesan

Use three cups of kale, plus toasted walnuts for this easy weeknight pasta.

Arugula-Basil Pesto with Pine Nuts, Parmesan and Ricotta

Add a peppery kick to traditional pesto with arugula; pine nuts bring texture to the pasta of your choice.

Photo By: Kana Okada ©Kana Okada 2013

Romaine Pesto with Sesame Seeds, Asiago and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes add a pop of color to this simple romaine-Asiago pesto.

Photo By: Kana Okada ©Kana Okada 2013

Keep Reading

Next Up

50 Pesto Recipes

Try a fresh take on the classic!

50 Things to Make With Pesto

Turn pesto into soup, salad and more.

Mix-and-Match Quiche

Design the perfect brunch: This customizable recipe leads to thousands of possibilities.

Mix-and-Match Latkes

Fry up a new potato pancake! 

Mix-and-Match Cornbread

Bring something new to your next barbecue: This recipe from Food Network Magazine leads to thousands of combinations!

Mix-and-Match Meatloaf

Design the ultimate comfort food: This customizable recipe from Food Network Magazine leads to thousands of possibilites!

Mix-and-Match Quick Bread

Create your perfect loaf of quick bread: This customizable recipe leads to thousands of possibilities!

Mix-and-Match Mashed Potatoes

Give the essential side dish a new spin with this step-by-step guide from Food Network Magazine.

Mix-and-Match Coffee Cake

Create your own coffee cake recipe: The possibilities are endless!

Mix-and-Match Stuffing

Try a new stuffing or three—the options from Food Network Magazine are endless.

Get Cooking