These 12 Fresh Pesto Recipes Seize the Last Bounty of Summer|Recipes Spots

  • on August 29, 2023
These 12 Fresh Pesto Recipes Seize the Last Bounty of Summer

Top view of a spoon with kale pesto on it. The spoon is above a blender jar with more pesto inside.
Nick Evans | Art Banner Credit: Andy Christensen

Pesto is a quick and easy way to use up herbs and greens. If you have a garden, you’ll love using vast amounts of parsley, basil, cilantro, and kale in mere minutes. But even if you don’t have a garden, pesto is easy to make year round and affordable. 

Originally, pesto came from Genoa, Italy and was made using a mortar and pestle. Though a great way to release tension, it takes a lot longer to make it this way. Instead, we turn to the a food processor to puree the ingredients. If you don’t have one, a blender can work in a pinch but you may need to chop the ingredients into smaller pieces or add water.

All of these recipes are ready in 15 minutes or less and use less than 10 ingredients. Not only is it quick and easy, but it’s incredibly versatile. Try your homemade pesto tossed with shrimp, on a sandwich, or as a dipping sauce for meatballs. You won’t be disappointed.

Mint Pesto

Mint and Almond Pesto - jar of mint pesto on white counter

If you have more mint than you need for Moscow mules, use it to make a refreshing pesto. Blanching the mint and parsley keeps the pesto bright green and helps mellow out the mint. 

Scallion Pesto

Scallion pesto in white bowl with white spoon
Alison Bickel / Simply Recipes

Whether you call them scallions or green onions, their mild oniony flavor adds zip to this pesto sauce. First, blanch basil and parsley, then pulse in a food processor along with chopped scallions and olive oil. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays.

Pea Pesto

Bowl of Pea Pesto With a Spoon, and in the Surroundings, Toasted Pieces of Bread (Some Have Pesto Smeared on It) and a Blue and White Kitchen Towel
Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

Frozen peas have never looked better. This simple pesto doesn’t require any blanching or herbs. Instead, you add pistachios, lemon, Pecorino and a big glug of olive oil to thawed peas and pulse to create a thick and creamy pesto.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto
Elise Bauer

The OG pesto with pine nuts and basil, is a classic that shouldn’t be overlooked. Though traditionally made using a mortar and pestle, we save some time and use a food processor instead.

Kale Pesto

Kale Lemon Pesto
Elise Bauer

Step aside, kale salad! Use the extra bunch of kale to make this easy no-cook sauce. Lemon juice and zest brighten it and complement the toasted almonds. Use it as you would any other pesto and feel good about the extra helping of greens.

Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro Pesto
Elise Bauer

Take pesto in a whole different direction and use cilantro, red onion, and serrano chiles for a spicy version. Spoon it over chicken tacos or use it as a dip for tortilla chips.

Carrot Top Pesto

Pesto made with carrot greens
Elise Bauer

Keep food out of the compost bin and use carrot tops to make a sensational dip. Adding equal parts of baby spinach rounds out the bitterness of the carrot tops and results in an appetizing shade of green.

Arugula Pesto

Arugula Pesto
Elise Bauer

This pesto swaps out the basil and uses peppery arugula in its place. Walnuts replace the pine nuts and help round out the arugula. Browning the garlic cloves in their skin reduces the intensity of the garlic in the pesto.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

Walnut Pesto with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Alison Conklin

Grab a jar of sun-dried tomatoes and make pesto with some pep. Pair it with another winter pesto, such as kale, and serve on bruschetta for a festive appetizer. It will last a week in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.

Walnut Parsley Pesto

Walnut Parsley Pesto
Elise Bauer

Parsley is available all year long and I always end up with more than I can use. Instead of tossing it out, make an easy pesto with it. If your sauce is too thick for a pasta sauce, then add some reserved pasta water to thin it out. 

Ramp and Parsley Pesto

Ramp and Parsley Pesto
Elise Bauer

The arrival of ramps to the farmer’s market is a sure sign that spring is its prime. Put this special ingredient on full display and make it into pesto. Use ramp leaves in this recipe, then you can pickle the white parts to savor every last bit of this precious seasonal delicacy.


Chermoula Relish in a white bowl with a spoonful set to the right.Chermoula Relish in a white bowl with a spoonful set below.
Sally Vargas

If you’re intimate with Moroccan cuisine, you may cringe at us taking the liberty to call chermoula a pesto. But the concept of herbs and aromatics crushed with olive oil remains the same, and you can use flavor-packed chermoula in a lot of the same ways: spooned onto meats, on toast, finishing soups, or as a marinade.

Article Categories:
Salad · Soups

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