Get Creative in the Kitchen with These 5 Pesto Recipe Variations!

Hey there, foodies! Are you tired of making the same old pasta dishes and boring sandwiches for lunch? It’s time to shake things up in the kitchen! If you’re looking for a delicious and quick way to add some flavor to your dishes, pesto is the way to go. With its classic combination of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, it’s hard to go wrong with this simple sauce. But why stop at the traditional recipe? There are so many creative ways to experiment with pesto and take your cooking to the next level.

Get Creative in the Kitchen with These 5 Pesto Recipe Variations

In this article, we’ll walk you through 5 of our favorite pesto recipe variations that are sure to impress your family and friends. From spicy Sriracha pesto to tangy sundried tomato pesto, we’ve got you covered. So put on your apron, fire up the stove, and get ready to bring some excitement to your meals. Let’s get cooking!

How to Make Homemade Pesto Sauce


Pesto is a traditional Italian sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy. Made using fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, this vibrant sauce is a burst of flavors and aroma. It is normally used over pasta, but there are many ways to incorporate it into your dishes. In this article, we will talk you through the steps required to make the best homemade pesto sauce.

Ingredients for Making Pesto Sauce

To make delicious homemade pesto sauce, you will need:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

It’s essential to ensure that the ingredients you use are fresh and top-quality. When buying basil leaves, choose those with bright green leaves without any white spots, and avoid wilted or bruised ones. Ensure the garlic cloves are fresh and free from sprouts. When buying pine nuts, check for any rancidity or mold, as this can ruin your pesto’s taste.

Step-by-Step Guide on Making Pesto Sauce

Now that you have your ingredients let’s begin making the pesto sauce.

  1. Begin by toasting the pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat until they turn golden brown on each side. This process will take around 3 to 5 minutes, and it’s essential to keep stirring to prevent the nuts from burning. Once done, let the pine nuts cool down completely.
  2. Place the basil leaves, cooled pine nuts, and garlic cloves in a food processor. Pulse it a few times until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
  3. Add grated parmesan, salt, and pepper and pulse again until fully combined.
  4. With the food processor on, start adding olive oil gradually. Pour it in a steady stream and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. You can adjust the consistency by adding more oil or reducing it.
  5. Once you are happy with the texture, taste the pesto sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more salt or black pepper, depending on your preference.
  6. If you’re not planning to use the pesto sauce immediately, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or freeze them in ice cube trays for longer shelf life.
  7. To serve, cook your favorite pasta following the package directions, and serve it with the pesto sauce. You can also use it as a dip, spread it on sandwiches, or toss it in salads.

Making homemade pesto sauce is quick and easy, and it adds a fantastic taste to any dish. Follow these simple steps and enjoy the delicious flavors and aroma that this fantastic sauce has to offer.

Ways to Use Pesto Sauce

Pesto sauce is a versatile and flavorful ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you want to make a mouthwatering pasta dish, marinade your grilled chicken, or use it as a dip, pesto sauce is always an excellent choice. In this article, we will explore three delicious ways to use pesto sauce.

As a Pasta Sauce

One of the most popular ways to use pesto sauce is as a pasta sauce. This dish is simple to make, yet it is packed with flavor. To make pesto pasta, follow these instructions:

– 1 pound of pasta
– 1 cup of pesto sauce
– 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package instructions until al dente.
2. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and reserve a cup of the pasta water.
3. Return the pasta to the pot, add the pesto sauce, and toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water to thin it out.
4. Add the grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, and toss again.

Serve hot, and enjoy the delicious taste!

As a Marinade or Condiment

Another way to use pesto sauce is as a marinade or condiment. The rich and savory taste of pesto sauce is perfect for marinating chicken, fish, or vegetables before cooking them on the grill or in the oven. Here’s how to make a simple pesto chicken marinade:

– 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 1 cup of pesto sauce
– 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
– Salt and pepper

1. In a large bowl, mix the pesto sauce, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until well combined.
2. Add the chicken breasts and toss to coat them with the marinade.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the leftover marinade.
5. Grill the chicken for 6-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Serve the chicken with your favorite side dishes, and enjoy the flavorful taste!

As a Dip

Lastly, you can use pesto sauce as a dip. It’s a great way to add an extra burst of flavor to your snack or appetizer. Here’s a simple recipe for pesto dip:

– 1 cup of pesto sauce
– 1/2 cup of sour cream
– 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
– Salt and pepper

1. In a medium bowl, mix the pesto sauce, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese until well combined.
2. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Cover and chill the dip in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve the pesto dip with crackers, breadsticks, or vegetable sticks, and enjoy the delicious flavor!

In conclusion, pesto sauce is a delicious ingredient that can be used in various ways. Whether you’re making a pasta dish, marinading your chicken, or serving a dip, pesto sauce always adds an extra burst of flavor and makes your dish more enjoyable. Give these recipes a try and taste the magic of pesto sauce.

Closing Thoughts

We hope these five pesto recipe variations inspired you to get creative in the kitchen! Experimenting with different ingredients and flavors can be a lot of fun, and who knows, you may just discover your new favorite dish. Don’t forget to share your creations with friends and family and let them taste your delicious dishes. Thank you for reading, and we look forward to seeing you again for more cooking inspiration and ideas!


1. Can I use different nuts instead of pine nuts?

Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with other nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts. Each nut will add a unique flavor to your pesto recipe.

2. Can I make pesto without cheese?

Yes, you can omit the cheese for a dairy-free pesto alternative. Nutritional yeast is a great substitute if you’re looking to include a cheesy flavor.

3. How long can I store homemade pesto?

Homemade pesto can last up to a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To make it last longer, you can freeze it for up to six months.

4. Can I use a blender instead of a food processor?

Yes, you can use a blender as long as it has a powerful motor to properly blend the ingredients into a smooth texture.

5. Can I use pesto as a marinade?

Absolutely, pesto makes a great marinade for chicken, fish, and veggies. Let the food soak in the marinade for at least an hour before cooking.

6. Can I use basil substitutes?

If you can’t find fresh basil, you can use other leafy greens like spinach, arugula, or kale to make a delicious pesto.

7. Can I use roasted garlic instead of raw garlic?

Yes, roasted garlic will add a deep, rich flavor to your pesto. You can roast garlic by wrapping it in foil and baking it in the oven until it becomes soft and caramelized.

8. Can I add other ingredients to the pesto recipe?

Of course! Feel free to add other ingredients like roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, or even avocado for a unique twist on traditional pesto.

9. Can I use pesto as a salad dressing?

Yes, you can use pesto as a salad dressing by mixing it with a little bit of olive oil and vinegar for a refreshing dressing.

10. Can I use frozen basil to make pesto?

While fresh basil is the best option, you can still make pesto with frozen basil. Simply thaw it before using it in the recipe.