Mix-and-Match Pesto

Create your perfect version: The possibilities are endless!
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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

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