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Beyond Basil: A Fresh Take on Pesto

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Think you know pesto? The classic Italian sauce has an ironbound list of ingredients: basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano, olive oil. But don’t let that stop you from tinkering. These recipes take the basic formula and blow it out with fresh, seasonal vegetables, unexpected cheeses, nuts, and even  fruit. Most of the recipes can be made ahead, making them the perfect sauce to have in your summer fridge for easy dinners and quick entertaining.

  • Recipe

    Tomato and Ricotta Pesto

    This simple pesto packs bold tomato flavor. Use it to perk up green beans, or toss with pasta.
  • Recipe

    Mixed Herb Pesto

    This is the perfect pesto to make when you have extra herbs on hand or an herb garden that’s working overtime. Delicious tossed with boiled potatoes, use it as you would conventional basil pesto. Though best made with mostly tender herbs like dill, cilantro, and mint, you could add a pinch of thyme or sage for some bold flavor.
  • Recipe

    Pea-Mint-Sunflower Seed Pesto

    Slightly thicker and chunkier than traditional basil pesto, this is great tossed with pasta or spread on crostini. It can be made with fresh or frozen peas.
  • Recipe

    Ramp and Pistachio Pesto

    Garlicky spring ramps (wild leeks) make an insanely delicious pesto, combined here with pistachios and mint. It's delicious served on toast with creamy burrata and peppadew peppers.
  • Recipe

    Roasted Yellow Pepper Pesto

    The smoky but bright flavor of charred peppers complements grilled lamb chops or other grilled meat.
  • Recipe

    Carrot Top Arugula Pesto

    Don’t throw out those carrot tops! They make a vibrant pesto, with rich flavor from toasted walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts. Arugula adds a peppery bite. The pesto is delicious topping roasted carrots or swirled into a summery vegetable soup.
  • Recipe

    Raw Asparagus Pesto

    This bright-green, fresh-tasting pesto is perfect for spreading on sandwiches, tossing with hot pasta, or slathering on crostini.
  • Recipe

    Manchego and Marcona Almond Pesto

    Rich sheep’s milk cheese pairs well with roasted almonds. In this Spanish twist, the two come together with peppery arugula and lemon zest to make a bright tasting pesto. For breakfast, try spreading it on toast and topping with a soft-boiled egg.
  • Recipe

    Fennel and Fig Pesto

    The sweetness of fig contrasts the tingly heat of fresh ginger, the licorice-y bite of fennel, and the bright acidity of grapefruit. Serve as part of a cheese course or on crostini.
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