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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.