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Variations on Pesto

kezdenek Oct 23, 2012 03:08 PM

Hi food loving friends,

I have a ton of basil and I want to start "putting it up". I am planning on making this weekend a "pesto" weekend.

Does anyone have any great recipes for variations on the classic basil pesto (still using basil)?

What are your favorites?


  1. nofunlatte Oct 26, 2012 05:10 AM

    I'm jumping onto the pistachio bandwagon as well. I've made lemon-pistachio (with both lemon juice and some lemon zest)--omitted the cheese because I served it to a dairy-avoiding friend. I found it delicious!

    1. charles_sills Oct 25, 2012 08:35 PM

      perhaps instead of pesto, make a "chimmichurri" except using basil instead of parsley/cilantro.

      and not really a new take on pesto, but what i love using pesto for using as a spread on panini sandwhiches. ham and salami, your favorite cheese, tomato, and plenty of pesto. put in in a grill pan or panini press. exclellent quick lunch.

      1. Gio Oct 25, 2012 11:23 AM

        Just when we think we've cooked kale every which way along comes Kale Pesto... yes with basil...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gio
          gimlis1mum Oct 25, 2012 07:05 PM

          I tried a kale pesto (with basil and almonds) and really liked it. I blanched the kale first, though, instead of using it raw.

        2. goodhealthgourmet Oct 25, 2012 11:18 AM

          pistachio is one of my favorite variations, but i see the others beat me to it!

          some other additions i like to use to put a new twist on it:
          - olives (green or black depending on your preference)
          - sun-dried tomatoes
          - chives
          - wild mushrooms
          - preserved lemon
          - artichoke hearts

          you can also substitute arugula or parsley for part of the basil to add a hint of bitterness.

          1. tiffeecanoe Oct 25, 2012 08:32 AM

            I really like this recipe!


            1. k
              katecm Oct 23, 2012 05:46 PM

              I made this pistachio pesto using basil instead of mint. It was fantastic and so unusual: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              You can also throw olive oil and basil into the food processor and freeze the basil oil in ice cube trays to add a bit of summer to dinner later in the winter.

              1. todao Oct 23, 2012 04:50 PM

                1 bunch fresh basil
                4 cloves garlic
                4 Anchovies
                6 cherry tomatoes (peeled)
                1/3 cup olive oil
                freshly grated Fiore Sardo cheese (substitute Parmigiano Reggiano)

                1. lynnlato Oct 23, 2012 04:40 PM

                  I was reading a post on Elizabeth Minchilli's blog a couple of months ago and she posted a recipe for "Sicilian Pesto". I had never heard of such a thing (and my mother's side is Sicilian). It sounded delicious - basil, garlic, almonds, tomatoes & pecorino romano cheese. Wow! Well, I made it and it was ridiculously easy and my family and I fell in love. Here is a link to Minchilli's recipe:


                  And here is a spin on Sicilian pesto done by Mario Batali... with the addition of mint and peppers to spice it up. I haven't made this one yet, but I want to:


                  Yummm, Buon appetito!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: lynnlato
                    lemony05 Oct 25, 2012 07:41 AM

                    I am Italian and I prefer the "Sicilian Pesto" to the original one, it's very good. The original recipe for pesto calls for pine nuts not almonds or walnuts. I understand you can experiment with various nuts, I personally love walnuts :)

                    1. re: lemony05
                      lynnlato Oct 25, 2012 10:48 AM

                      Yea, my mom's side is Sicilian and we never had this growing up... I had never heard of this version. I follow Elizabeth Minchilli's blog and she posted about it and I fell in love. Delicious stuff! I'll bet it would be good with walnuts and even hazelnuts - yummm. :)

                    2. re: lynnlato
                      sea97horse Oct 25, 2012 01:11 PM

                      I actually prefer this version to Genovese!
                      I think the reason many people here of Sicilian heritage haven't heard of it is that it's a very local dish from the northwest of Sicily. It's also known as pesto all'ericiana, Erice being the hill town towering over Trapani. The almonds should be toasted, and a pinch of hot pepper is appropriate in this one. And you can mix the pecorino right in.

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