12 ways to use the ingredient that goes with everything.


The natural flavor of basil shines in pesto, and the sauce is a perfect addition to pasta meals, chicken, pork, and seafood dishes, and sandwich toppings. But if you’re bored with the usual options, try one of these inventive recipes that showcases pesto in unique and tasty ways. Serve the results with basil lemonade and finish with a strawberry-basil iceblock to enhance the herb’s flavor. Don’t forget to freeze any extra pesto in icecube trays so you can enjoy the garden’s goodness all year long.

1. Strawberry, Goat Cheese and Pesto Bruschetta

Courtesy of Healthy In Candyland
Give bruschetta a decidedly summertime vibe with this simple-yet-delicious recipe from Healthy in Candyland. Spread bread with goat cheese and then pesto, and place sliced strawberries on top. Place on a baking sheet and under the broiler for a few minutes until toast gets browned and crispy around the edges.
Get the recipe HERE.

2. Pesto Ice Cream with Walnut Pesto Candy

Courtesy of Y-I-EAT-N

Fresh basil leaves, a handful of pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil add a pesto zing to basic homemade ice cream in this inventive recipe from Y-I-Eat-N. A walnut pesto candy can top the savory frozen dish, or serve it with sweet egg noodle pasta and some shaved parmesan for a sweet dinnertime meal.

Get the recipe HERE.

3. Tomato Pesto Swirl Bread

Courtesy of Cookistry
This gorgeous loaf of bread from Cookistry is made with semolina flour, tomato paste, and pesto. Spread the tomato paste and pesto onto folded dough layers before rolling it up jam-roll style and forming into a ring. Slash the top of the loaf before baking to give hints of the yummy goodness hidden inside.
Get the recipe HERE.

4. Pesto Potato Mushroom Chickpea Salad

Courtesy of Keepin’ It Kind

Oil-free pesto and a handful of hemp seeds make this summer comfort food recipe from Keepin’ It Kind incredibly healthy. Roasted mushrooms and potatoes combine with chickpeas and pesto in a satisfying salad that’s simple enough to repeat almost every night of the week.

Get the recipe HERE.

5. Pesto and Brie

Courtesy of The Yummy Life
This fancy-looking pesto appetizer from The Yummy Life is super-fast to assemble and unbelievably good. Just spread a wedge of brie cheese with four tablespoons of pesto, sprinkle some pine nuts on top, and serve it with crackers.
Get the recipe HERE.

6. Pesto and Avocado Stuffed Sweet Capsicum

Courtesy of Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast
These colorful mini sweet peppers from The Forest Feast are stuffed with a creamy pesto and avocado filling. Cut off the tops of the peppers—often found in bags at the supermarket—and remove the seeds before piping in a mixture of avocado, pesto, and cream cheese.
Get the recipe HERE.

7. Pesto Hummus

Courtesy of Deliciously Declassified
A satisfying hummus dip is given an extra level of goodness with pesto in this recipe from Deliciously Declassified. Combine chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, roasted garlic, and pesto in the food processor, and serve with corn chips.
Get the recipe HERE.

8. Pesto Deviled Eggs

Courtesy of Fat and Happy
Classic deviled eggs are back in style, and this pesto version from Fat and Happy could be the start of a tasty new tradition. Fresh basil, parmesan and mascarpone cheese, toasted pine nuts, and garlic add a zing to the picnic staple.
Get the recipe HERE.

9. Open-Faced Roast Beef and Pesto Sandwich

Courtesy of Lisa Park
This simple roast beef sammy is dressed up with a garlicky pesto, slices of juicy tomato, and a pile of peppery arugula. Slather a thick piece of bread with pesto and layer on the fixings.
Get the recipe HERE.

10. Zucchini Pesto Pizza

Courtesy of Regan Burns Cafiso
Pesto and paper-thin slices of zucchini create a fast and fresh pizza topping that’s healthy, too. Use fresh dough and pesto (or prepared versions cut the prep time down) and layer on coursely grated fresh mozzarella, pesto, and zucchini, before drizzling on olive oil.
Get the recipe HERE.

11. Whole Wheat Penne Genovese

Courtesy of the Good Housekeeping 400 Calorie Italian 2013 by Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc
An onion-flecked white bean sauté adds heft to this fresh and healthy pesto pasta dish, making it light yet satisfying. (Reprinted with permission from The Good Housekeeping 400 Calorie Italian 2013 by Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.)
Get the recipe HERE.

12. Baked Potato Salad

Courtesy of Old-School Comfort Food by Alex Guarnaschelli. Copyright 2013. Published by Clarkson Potter.

A bunch of fresh basil plus Dijon mustard, capers, and cornichons add an amazing twist to potato salad in this recipe by chef Alex Guarnaschelli.

Get the recipe HERE.


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