Pesto Recipes

Unlock the vibrant flavors of fresh basil and garlic with these authentic and versatile pesto recipes. Crafting the perfect pesto is an art of balance – blending robust olive oil, toasted nuts, aromatic garlic, and verdant basil into a harmonious embrace. Mastering the technique to achieve the ideal texture without overtaxing the delicate basil leaves is a skill worth honing.

From the classic Genovese style with pine nuts and Parmesan to creative twists using herbs like arugula, mint or incorporating unexpected ingredients like pistachios or sun-dried tomatoes, these pesto recipes offer endless versatility. Let the bright, herbaceous aroma of freshly made pesto awaken your senses as you discover the many ways this simple sauce can elevate pastas, proteins, sandwiches and more.

In A Rush? Key Takeaways:

  • Master basil pesto technique from Genovese classic to creative variations
  • Explore pesto with different herbs, nuts, cheeses and mix-ins
  • Endless versatility for using pesto with pasta, proteins, sandwiches
  • Unlock the bright, vibrant flavors of freshly made herby sauce

1. 5-Ingredient Chicken Pesto Soup

When you’re short on time but craving a comforting and flavorful meal, this 5-Ingredient Chicken Pesto Soup is the answer. As the name suggests, you only need a handful of ingredients to whip up this tasty soup. Juicy shredded chicken is simmered in a creamy broth infused with fragrant basil pesto, creating a rich and herbaceous base. Tender pasta adds heartiness, while a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese takes it over the top with a savory, salty note.

The best part about this soup is how effortlessly it comes together. Simply sauté some garlic and broth, then stir in pre-cooked chicken, pesto from a jar, and pasta. Let it simmer briefly until the pasta is tender and the flavors meld. In under 30 minutes, you’ll have a warm, soul-soothing soup that tastes like it came from an upscale restaurant. It’s the ideal fuss-free meal for busy weeknights or lazy weekends when you want something wholesome without spending hours in the kitchen.

2. Pesto Lasagna Rolls

These Pesto Lasagna Rolls put a fun, portable twist on a classic Italian favorite. Large lasagna noodles are boiled until tender, then filled with a heavenly combination of ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, Parmesan, and vibrant basil pesto. The pesto adds such a fresh, fragrant pop of flavor that complements the creamy cheeses. Once filled, the noodles are carefully rolled up and nestled in a baking dish with jarred marinara sauce.

After a stint in the oven, these lasagna rolls emerge golden brown and bubbling, with the edges crispy and the interior luxuriously melted. Each bite is an explosion of flavors and textures – the slight chew of the noodle, the gooey cheese filling, the bright pesto, and the tangy marinara for dipping. They make an impressive main course for entertaining, but also reheat beautifully for meal prep lunches throughout the week. Serve with a crisp salad and crusty garlic bread for an irresistibly comforting meal.

3. Pesto-Rubbed Baked Salmon with Smashed Cucumber and Green Apple Salad

This dish is a true celebration of fresh flavors and vibrant colors. At its heart is a succulent salmon fillet slathered with a zesty pesto rub made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and olive oil. As the salmon bakes, the pesto forms an incredibly fragrant crust, infusing the fish with bright herbaceous notes. The real star, though, is the accompaniment – a smashed cucumber and green apple salad that adds a burst of crisp, refreshing contrast.

The salad couldn’t be simpler – just smash cucumber and tart green apple with a bit of seasoning until they begin to release their juices. Toss with sliced red onion, fresh dill and a zingy vinaigrette. Let it marinate briefly to allow the flavors to mingle. Serve the pesto-crusted salmon atop this vibrant salad for a gorgeous textural interplay between the warm, tender fish and the cool, crunchy vegetables. It’s a light yet immensely satisfying meal that celebrates the bounty of summer produce while being elegant enough for entertaining.

4. Garlic Bread Pinwheels

These fun and portable Garlic Bread Pinwheels take all the irresistible flavors of classic garlic bread and pack them into adorable spiraled rolls. They start with a simple dough enriched with butter and garlic. Once risen, the dough gets rolled out into a large rectangle and slathered with a fragrant garlic-herb butter. A shower of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses adds an oozy, melty factor.

From there, the dough gets carefully rolled up jelly-roll style into a tight log. Using a sharp knife, the log is sliced into pinwheels, revealing those trademark swirled layers. The pinwheels get arranged in a baking dish and baked until golden brown and puffy. As they bake, the buttery garlic aroma fills the kitchen. Serve these pinwheels warm as an appetizer or snack – they make the perfect handheld nibble to tear apart and dunk into marinara sauce. With cheesy pockets and herbaceous garlic flavor in every bite, they’ll be an instant crowd pleaser.

5. Carrots with Pesto and Ricotta

This deceptively simple side dish packs a huge punch of bright, fresh flavors. Humble carrots get elevated to new heights when tossed with a vibrant basil pesto and dolloped with creamy ricotta cheese. The pesto, made with basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan and good olive oil, brings its signature herbaceous notes and richness. When tossed with the tender-crisp roasted carrots, it creates a luxurious glaze that clings to every bite.

The mild sweetness of the carrots is the perfect canvas to allow the bold pesto to really shine. But the addition of creamy ricotta takes it to another level entirely. The soft, milky cheese both contrasts and complements the intense pesto with its gentle tanginess. A sprinkle of crunchy toasted pine nuts scattered over top adds great texture. This dish is shockingly easy to prepare yet looks and tastes like something from a haute Italian restaurant. Pair it with grilled or roasted meats for a simple yet elegant meal.

6. Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

These flavor-packed Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwiches are a delicious way to elevate your typical chicken sandwich. Juicy grilled chicken breasts get amped up with a slathering of vibrant basil pesto. The pesto creates an incredible herb-infused crust packed with garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil for richness. As the chicken sizzles on the grill, the pesto transforms into an intensely flavorful coating that permeates every bite.

Nestled between soft bakery buns, the pesto chicken is then piled high with your favorite toppings. Ripe tomatoes, crisp lettuce, melty provolone or mozzarella cheese, and tangy balsamic onions all make delicious additions. For an extra flavor boost, you can slather the buns with a smear of mayonnaise spiked with lemon zest or pesto as well. These handhelds are equally suited for summer backyard gatherings or easy weeknight meals. Pair them with pasta salad, crispy fries or a fresh garden salad for a seriously satisfying