19 Summery Recipes for Pesto Lovers
Rigatoni with Lemony Kale-and-Pecorino Pesto
Making pesto with kale instead of basil isn't just healthier, it's unexpectedly delicious. And according to the dish's creator, chef Chris Cosentino, it's a simple way to get kids to eat kale.
Lemony Barley Salad with Kale Pesto
Kale does double duty here: Some of the leaves are pureed with lemon juice and olive oil for a phenomenal pesto, and some of them are torn into pieces that are stirred into the cooked barley at the end.
Linguine with Broccoli Rabe Walnut Pesto
Spaghetti with Fresh Zucchini Pesto
Cookbook author Katie Parla makes a light and fresh-tasting zucchini pesto for spaghetti, but she also adds raw zucchini matchsticks to give the dish a bit of crunch.
Fusilli with Spinach and Sun-Dried-Tomato Pesto
Our tomato pesto packs a wallop of flavor. Use it in this colorful pasta salad or toss it with hot pasta instead. You may also want to try the pesto on top of grilled chicken, lamb, or vegetables; as a sandwich spread; or mixed with cream cheese on a bagel.
Fresh Asparagus Pesto
Using asparagus in a pesto with olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil and lemon juice creates a very fresh, green and spring-like sauce for pasta.
Cheese Tortellini with Walnut Pesto
Here's one of the quickest pesto sauces you'll come across. It's a perfect match for cheese tortellini, but you can use other tortellini such as mushroom or meat instead. The pesto is also great with just about any plain pasta.
Spaghetti with Parsley Almond Pesto
Parsley, rather than the traditional basil, makes this pesto a year-round staple. Because the taste of almonds is more delicate than that of the usual pine nuts, we have chopped rather than ground them. Their flavor really comes through when you bite in to a nutty chunk.
Rigatoni with Asparagus-Pistachio Pesto
The only dish that survived the first menu changeover [at Minnesota restaurant Café Un Deux Trois] was this amazing asparagus pasta, which the old chef swore he got from Bouley. While that may or may not be true, if it's not Bouley's, it should have been—it's that delicious.—Andrew Zimmern
Mint and lamb are a classic pairing. Grace Parisi riffs on the match by kneading mint pesto into ground lamb, grilling the patties, then crumbling them into an orzo-and-feta salad.
Haricots Verts and Potato Salad with Pesto
This traditional Italian salad from chef Chris Behr of the Rome Sustainable Food Project is incredibly versatile. He adds roasted almonds here for crunch, but he also likes to fold in blanched fresh peas and halved pitted olives.
Hazelnut-and-Green Olive Pesto
This isn't a typical pesto, since it has no cheese; instead, it's made with an irresistible blend of crunchy toasted hazelnuts, fresh green parsley, salty green olives and garlic.
Spaghetti with Sun-Dried-Tomato-Almond Pesto
This Mediterranean dish from Marcie Turney is quick, simple and utterly delicious.
Pistou is an olive oil-based basil sauce from the south of France that closely resembles Ligurian pesto. There's only one way to make true pistou—by hand. Tear the basil leaves into pieces first, then grind the leaves against the side of a mortar with a pestle to puree them into a silky, creamy sauce. Like its Italian twin, pistou can also be served as an accompaniment to grilled meats, poultry, fish and vegetables.
Pan-Fried Shrimp with Lemony Pea Pesto
The pea, pine nut and Parmesan pesto for this fast shrimp dish would also make a great dip for crudites.
Trenette with Pesto, Beans and Potatoes
Pair with a brisk, slightly nutty Soave.
Pounding the ingredients in a mortar produces a pesto of incomparable texture: silky basil leaves and olive oil bind coarser bits of garlic and Parmesan.
Grilled-Chicken-and-Asparagus Salad with Parsley Pesto
Parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and oil—that's all it takes to make an outstanding dressing. The secret is in using a lot of parsley. You'll be surprised how flavorful it is.
Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Yuzu Kosho Pesto
Yuzu kosho is a hot, spicy and aromatic Japanese condiment made from hot chiles and ultra-citrusy yuzu zest. It's the key to this supersimple and utterly delicious recipe from chef Ricardo Zarate of Mo-Chica in Los Angeles.