This Italian basil and garlic sauce is one of the greatest delicacies of all time. The addition of butter, however, is pure magic.
Note: To prepare pesto for freezing, don't add the cheese or butter. Freeze the basil, olive oil, and garlic purée in a tightly covered container for up to 6 months. Alternatively, freeze in ice cube trays, then place the cubes in a Ziploc bag. When ready to use, thoroughly defrost, then stir in the cheese and butter.
- 2 Cups moderately well-packed fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch basil), stemmed
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
Calories Per Serving176
Folate equivalent (total)5µg1%
8 Ways To Use Pesto
Thomas Connertz / EyeEm / Getty Images
Purchased pesto is one of the best convenience foods on the market, and pesto from scratch is simple to prepare and even more delicious. Traditional pesto is made of fresh basil leaves, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and pine nuts, but there are plenty of other recipes including alternative herbs and nuts such as chives and walnuts. Although it is most commonly used to top cooked pasta, pesto can be so much more than a pasta sauce. There are so many tasty ways to dress up a recipe with pesto, whether store-bought or homemade, that you may want to prepare (or buy) a double batch.
If you buy pesto pre-made from the store, or your homemade has been sitting in the fridge, be sure to stir it before you use it in recipes. As it sits, the oil can separate from the rest of the mixture.
25 Best Recipes With Pesto
Pesto is one of the easiest and most versatile ways to add quick flavor to many dishes. I've rounded up a collection of favorite recipes by me and some of my blogging buddies who just happen to be among the best cooks in the blogosphere. You'll find recipes for making pesto the traditional way with basil, and other varieties using spinach, broccoli, and even avocados. Not only can pesto be tossed with pasta, but it also is used in appetizers, salads, sandwiches, pizza, bread, and main dishes for every meal of the day. Enjoy!
Classic Basil Pesto --how to make it and freeze it
recipe and photo by Monica at The Yummy Life
recipe and photo by Nicole at The Galley Gourmet
recipe and photo by Ali at Gimme Some Oven
Toasted Walnut Spinach Pesto Pasta
recipe and photo by Marla at Family Fresh Cooking
Baked Pesto Chicken
recipe and photo by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen
8 Easy Appetizers Using Pesto
pinwheels, veggie skewers, crostini, stuffed mushrooms, spreads and dips
recipes and photos by Monica at The Yummy Life
Portobello, Red Pepper & Pesto Pizza
recipe and photo by Lindsay at Pinch of Yum
Sundried Tomato Polenta Bites
recipe and photo by Lori at Recipe Girl
Chicken Pesto Slider Sandwiches
recipe and photo by Monica at The Yummy Life
Cheesy Pesto Pull-Apart Bread
recipe and photo by Jamie at Jamie Cooks It Up
Whole Grain Pesto Croutons
recipe and photo by Monica at The Yummy Life
Pesto for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner
(pesto scrambled eggs, pesto salad vinaigrette, pesto veggie pasta)
recipes and photos by Monica at The Yummy Life
Pesto Chicken Salad with Walnuts and Red Peppers
recipe and photo by Christie at Pepper Lynn
Salmon Pesto Pasta
recipe and photo by Annie at Annie's Eats
Pesto Brown Rice Pilaf
recipe by Monica at The Yummy Life
Parmesan Pesto Veggie Sandwich
recipe by Lindsay at Pinch of Yum
TikTok's 'pesto eggs' are the latest food trend: 'You won’t go back'
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TikTokers are simply eggs-cited about pesto.
The unusual food combo is one of the latest food trends to hit the video-sharing app, which is now more than 131.8 million views strong according to the hashtag "pesto eggs."
And the countless videos linked under the popular hashtag are showing home chefs that there’s really no wrong way to make a pesto-covered egg dish.
TikTok recipes have ranged between scrambled, fried, sunny-side up, omelets, poached, deviled and more.
TikTokers are combining egg dishes with pesto sauce and now it is a growing trend. (iStock)
The most-viewed and liked pesto egg recipe on TikTok comes from Amy Wilichowski, which was posted to the app on April 26.
Within one month, Wilichowski’s video has racked up more than 11 million views and 1.4 million likes.
The 23-year-old registered dietitian and recipe developer showed TikTok that eggs can be cooked in pesto sauce instead of oil.
Wilichowski also likes to serve her pesto eggs on sourdough bread with ricotta, smashed avocado, honey, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.
"I know I’ve said this a million times, but you have to try pesto eggs. I swear your life will be changed," she promised her viewers in her video. "The taste is incredible. You won’t go back."
"I've been topping my eggs with pesto for a while now, but it wasn't until last summer that I thought of the idea to cook my eggs directly in pesto," Wilichowski told Fox News via email. "I realized that since there was already olive oil in pesto, I could just crack my eggs directly into it and it would have a similar effect to cooking eggs in any kind of cooking oil!"
Moreover, it appears Wilichowski's viral video has inspired several others to come up with their own pesto egg dishes that can be served with or without bread.
Fellow TikTok creator, Cooking with Ayeh, gave her stamp of approval for pesto eggs when she reviewed the food combo in early May.
"I just had to try the pesto eggs I keep seeing. Let me tell you, it’s definitely worth the hype," she said in her video, which only included pesto, eggs and salt and pepper on toast.
Aside from olive oil, most pesto sauces are made with pine nuts, crushed garlic, basil, cheese and other light seasonings.
Reviewers who have tested out pesto on eggs generally report it has a nutty and cheesy flavor.
Meanwhile, search engine data on Google Trends shows that people have been looking into pesto eggs increasingly since March.
The recipe is most searched for in Minnesota, California, New York and Missouri. People have also shown interest in Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, Washington, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.
Pesto alla Genovese is the most recognisable variation of this symbol of Italian cuisine. Originating in Liguria, this classic pesto sauce recipe combines the intense flavours of basil, garlic and Parmigiano Reggiano with the more delicate notes of pine nuts and olive oil. This king of basil recipes exemplifies Italy’s bountiful larder of superior ingredients, but it is not the only version. The name pesto is derived from the Italian word pestare meaning ‘to grind’ or ‘to crush’, and as such it can refer to a cornucopia of sauces made by grinding and crushing ingredients together. In Sicily, pesto alla trapanese is a popular pesto recipe made from almonds and tomatoes to create a pesto rosso (red pesto). Pesto alla calabrese, a speciality of Calabria, combines sweet red peppers with smooth ricotta for a deliciously creamy pesto sauce.
Whether you prefer pesto alla Genovese or a sun dried tomato pesto, browse this collection of homemade pesto recipes that range from the authentic to the cutting-edge. Andrea Migliaccio’s traditional Basil pesto recipe is a must for your Italian culinary repertoire and is perfect in any pesto pasta. Andrea Migliaccio also pairs his pesto with the equally iconic Italian ingredients of tomato and ricotta in his recipe for Passata of San Marzano tomatoes with buffalo ricotta and pesto, while the Costardi Brothers omit the Parmesan for a dairy-free pesto in their striking aubergine recipe.
Our favourite pesto recipes…
Put your foraging finds to good use and whizz up wild garlic with pine nuts, lemon and Parmesan for a fresh new take on the traditional pesto. This wild pesto will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge. Try it out on our nettle gnudi with wild garlic pesto.
Also available in the plentiful pesto range is the watercress variety. Stalks and all, it works well with wholewheat pasta or courgetti. Our nutty watercress pesto contains Brazil nuts too.
We all know it’s good for us but there’s a limit to how many ways we can enjoy kale. Blend it finely into our 5-star rated kale pesto using this super simple 10-minute method and that’s another. Delicious!
Our broccoli pesto pizza recipe shows just how versatile this sauce can be. Made without cheese, the pizza has ricotta added to mild yet vibrant effect.
Give your pesto a pop of colour and an earthy sweetness. Blend peppers with the base ingredients to make it as smooth or chunky as you like, stir into pasta and enjoy. This walnut & red pepper pesto pasta recipe is one to keep coming back to.
Avocado naturally lends itself to being blended with other flavours and gives sauces a creamy, indulgent quality. Try our chicken, broccoli & beetroot salad with avocado pesto for a healthy, nutrient-packed dish.
Chives make a light but punchy pesto and the olive oil and lemon juice balance out the flavours perfectly. Our gnocchi with lemon & chive pesto makes a satisfying alternative to pasta and is great for vegetarians. It’s also good for spreading on bruschettas and as a dip.
This spaghetti with pea & mint pesto is a delicate twist on the old favourite. The peas add another veg to your meal and it’s a familiar flavour that’s popular with kids. You can use frozen peas for convenience. It’s budget-friendly too.
Swap basil for parsley and pine nuts for hazelnuts and you’ve got a great-tasting alternative. Parsley and hazelnut pesto is one you won’t find on supermarket shelves and is a real treat for the tastebuds.
Perhaps you wouldn’t expect to find these mixed into pesto but broad beans make a simple, delicious sauce. Crushed broad bean pesto is not only great stirred into pasta but is the perfect mid-morning snack spread on toast and topped with cheese.
Discover more delicious pesto recipes
What’s your favourite pesto pot recipe? Let us know in the comments section below…
My pesto formula
2 cups basil – or other (tasty) blitzable leafy greens
1/4 cup pinenuts – or other nuts (chopped). Cashews are the best (better value!) sub for a basil pesto.
1/2 cup parmesan, store bought shredded OR 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan*
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – a really good quality one makes all the difference here!
Combine and blitz – that’s it!
* Why the difference between store bought and freshly grated? Because freshly grated is aerated so you need more by volume for the same amount by weight.
18 Pesto Recipes That You're Going To Love
While a really good sauce is tricky much of the time, there are a few sauces that anyone can make. Like pesto, whose name derives from the Italian word for "pounded," because you don't make it by cooking the ingredients you make it by pounding them together until they taste good. You can handle that. And while you're probably most familiar with the basil + pine nuts + olive oil + garlic + Parm variety, there are plenty of variations. And they're all really, really good. So get pounding.
1. Basil Parmesan Pesto
This easy pesto recipe goes big on the Parm. And that's cool, because cheese is always a good thing.
2. Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich
Ordinary chicken salad can just forget about it now that this tasty pesto chicken salad is in town. Frankly, you might never eat anything else again.
3. Arugula Walnut Pesto
Sure, pesto's most often made with just basil, but it can also be a stellar way to add leafy greens like arugula to the mix.
4. Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta
Skip the trip to the grocery store and make a batch of delicious sun-dried tomato pesto with a few pantry staples that you already have.
5. Basil Almond Pesto
Roasted almonds make for some pretty incredible pesto. You're about to own your next dinner party.
6. Spinach Pesto
Go green with this vibrant, healthy spinach-and-basil pesto recipe.
7. Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken Salad
Not everyone has a slow cooker, but everyone who does swears by it. So get connected and then try this ah-mazing slow cooker chicken. Dinner just made itself.
8. Freezer Pesto
Want a recipe you can make a lot of, ahead of time? Now you can turn a ton of basil into meals for months with this simple freezer pesto.
9. Pumpkin Pesto
Here's the deal: It's called pumpkin pesto, but you can actually use any squash puree to make this savory-sweet recipe.
10. Tomato Pesto Tarts
Need a fancy appetizer, like, yesterday? Look no further than puff pastry from the freezer. Next, add a little pesto and a pretty tomato and slide it in the oven. Next, pour yourself some wine, cause you're done.
11. Pesto Tilapia
The great thing about having a batch of freshly made pesto on hand is that it makes everything taste awesome. So get fancy and cook up this pesto-topped tilapia (garlic breath for all!).
12. Spaghetti Squash With Kale Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Cook up something crazy healthy and totally delicious with this recipe for spaghetti squash with kale pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.
13. Raw Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Interested in trying raw food? Here's an easy raw gateway recipe that you will love (really!).
14. Classic Homemade Pesto
If all the above recipes haven't been sitting well with your purist soul, then try this classic, perfectly delicious, traditional pesto recipe.
15. Tomato Pesto Bites
These tasty little tomato pesto bites are totally perfect for a party.
16. Zucchini Pesto
Eat all your veggies in the form of sumptuous pesto with this cheesy zucchini pesto recipe.
17. Easy Pesto Pasta
Getting ready to hunker down with a giant bowl of pasta? Make it classy with this easy pesto pasta recipe with tomatoes and mozzarella.
18. Garlic Scape and Swiss Chard Pesto
Garlic scapes can typically be found at specialty grocers or farmers' markets in the late spring or summer (depending on where you live). They have a mild garlicky flavor, and make for some pretty incredible pesto that you need to try.
Elizabeth Stark is a food writer with a passion for seasonal food, great desserts, and inadvisable wine pairings. Read more on her blog, Brooklyn Supper.
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 3 ounces fresh basil leaves (3 cups)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup cup grated Pecorino Romano
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Use the side of a chef's knife to mash garlic clove with kosher salt until garlic breaks down. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor with toasted pine nuts. Pulse until a paste forms. Add fresh basil leaves in two batches, pulsing until finely chopped. Add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and grated Pecorino Romano puree until combined. Transfer to a bowl slowly whisk in extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt. Store in an airtight container, covered with a thin layer of oil, for up to 2 days.
In a food processor, combine toasted nuts, basil, Parmesan, and garlic season with salt and pepper. Process until finely chopped. With machine running, pour olive oil in a steady stream through the feed tube process until smooth.
Now that you’ve made your pesto, it’s time to choose some tasty ways to enjoy it. You could always eat it as a dip or spread. Try spreading it on some bread. Make a pizza, like this Raw Vegan Pizza with Spinach, Pesto, and Marinated Vegetables and this Fresh Summer Vegan Pesto Pizza. If you like lasagna, try this Vegan Pesto Lasagna and this Raw Vegan Lasagna with Cashew Cheese and Broccoli Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. Do you like burgers? Try pesto on these Red Lentil Burgers with Kale Pesto.
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