Pesto Remix: 3 Fresh Recipes for Spring

Cook, In Season, Recipe Roundup, Sicily, Spring, Tips & Techniques, Try This at Home

This post comes courtesy of Jennifer Farley, blogger, recipe developer and food photographer at Savory Simple


Have you ever made pesto from scratch? It’s a simple way to get creative in the kitchen and, in my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to enjoy pasta. Pesto originated in northern Italy and was traditionally made with a mortar and pestle, though these days it’s often made with a food processor.The word comes from “pestare,” which means to crush something with a pestle and reduce it to powder. While it’s most often served with pasta, pesto can be used in numerous culinary applications.


Below are three basic pesto recipes. The ingredients should always be adjusted to taste; if you like a bit more garlic or cheese, add it! These recipes also lend themselves to substitutions and experimentation. Are you a fan of fresh mint? Try swapping out the sun-dried tomatoes in the first recipe for 1 cup of mint leaves, and you’ll have a delicious basil mint pesto.


Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Pesto


1/2 cup pine nuts

1 clove garlic (or more to taste)

2 cups fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, preferably packed in oil

1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1/2 extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


Sauté the garlic and pine nuts in a small pan with a bit of the oil or some butter; this step mellows out the garlic and releases the nut oils. If you skip this step, be sure to toast the pine nuts in the oven. You always want the nuts toasted when making pesto. If you like your pesto with more of a kick, leave the garlic raw.


If you’re not using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, soak them in hot water for several minutes before using.


Add all of your ingredients into a food processor, pulse a few times and then keep the machine running steadily while adding olive oil.


This pesto doesn’t typically need salt because of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, but you be the judge. I also love taking all of these ingredients and leaving them whole so you get more of the texture and bits while eating.


Follow the same steps as above for the two variations below: toast nuts or sauté them with garlic, pulse all ingredients in the food processor, mix at a steady speed while adding oil, and adjust flavors to taste.


Parsley & Pistachio Pesto


1/2 cup shelled pistachios

1 clove garlic (or more to taste)

2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup feta cheese, preferably good quality

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


Arugula & Pecan Pesto


1/2 cup pecans

1 clove garlic (or more to taste)

2 cups arugula

1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste


Pesto shouldn’t be limited to pasta. Try spreading it on a toasted baguette or adding it as a topping on pizza!  Here are a few creative pesto recipes from Savory Simple and Williams-Sonoma:


Homemade Pizza
Homemade pizza is incredibly easy to prepare! Learn how to make a quick, simple dough and add a delicious pesto, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese topping.


Prosciutto Panini with Pesto Mayonnaise
Enjoy as a quick breakfast, a satisfying lunch or an afternoon snack — you’ll find these prosciutto panini are just right any time of the day.
Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Panini
A versatile Italian antipasti, crostini lend themselves to endless variations. Here, grilled bread slices are topped with creamy goat cheese and roasted red pepper pesto.
Polenta with Eggplant Pesto
Make a double batch of eggplant pesto and serve on crostini—you will have two appetizers in one.


About the author: Jennifer Farley is the owner, recipe developer and food photographer of Savory Simple. She graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD where she trained in classic French technique. Jennifer currently works as a recreational cooking instructor and social media marketer. She resides in the Washington DC metropolitan area and can often be found exploring the local culinary scene in search of new inspiration.

6 comments about “Pesto Remix: 3 Fresh Recipes for Spring

  1. Pesto Remix: 3 Fresh Recipes for Spring | ClubEvoo

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  4. Garden Update and an Arugula Pecan Pesto Recipe! « The Canny Preserver

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