20 Not-so-average pesto recipes to upgrade family meals
There's so much more to pesto than basil.
The classic is delicious, of course, but with so many options out there, why stick to just one recipe? From fuchsia beets to sweet carrots and feta, these pestos go above and beyond the call of duty.
1. Classic basil pesto recipe
Image: Cherished Bliss
You can't go wrong with the classic. Fragrant basil, creamy pine nuts and nutty Parmesan cheese combine to make the ultimate dip, pasta sauce, soup add-in — you name it.
2. Vegan arugula-walnut pesto recipe
There's no reason your vegan friends should have to miss out on delicious pesto. This recipe, made with peppery arugula, doesn't compromise on flavor, so everyone will be happy.
3. Creamy paleo avocado pesto recipe
Image: Stupid Easy Paleo
This dairy-free pesto is loaded with healthy fats from avocado and extra-virgin olive oil, making it the perfect treat for your favorite paleo diners.
4. Kale, pepita and sunflower seed pesto recipe
Image: Sweet Peas & Saffron
This earthy pesto, made with kale, toasted pepitas and sunflower seeds, is the perfect hearty sauce for a pasta like farfalle or even as a base for pizza.
5. Spinach and pistachio pesto recipe
Image: Bev Cooks
Pistachio nuts really make this pesto a standout. For the best flavor, try toasting them before you give 'em a whirl in the food processor with spinach and basil.
6. Grilled cauliflower steaks with allergy-friendly pesto recipe
Image: Two Peas & Their Pod
This dairy-free, nut-free pesto still has the fresh flavor of the classic thanks to fresh basil, tangy lemon and extra-virgin olive oil.
7. Socca flatbread with minted-pea pesto recipe
Image: Oh My Veggies
Sweet peas and mint come together in this recipe to make a pesto you might even be able to describe as refreshing — it's the perfect pesto for spring.
8. Artichoke lemon pesto recipe
Image: Red Shallot Kitchen
Bright and tangy, this artichoke pesto is loaded with lemon and parsley. Try it alongside grilled bread, shrimp and veggies for a healthy and flavorful meal.
9. Cilantro-jalapeño pesto recipe
Image: Bowl of Delicious
Who said pesto has to be Italian? This spicy, earthy and herbaceous cilantro-jalapeño pesto can be used in the same way you'd use traditional pesto, but you can try drizzling it on tacos or using as a marinade for grilled meats too.
10. Spicy Asian pesto recipe
Image: Linda's Yummies
Basil is popular in Italian cuisine, sure, but Thai cooking utilizes its own fragrant basil too. Here, it's combined with peanuts, mint and lime for a truly unique spicy Asian pesto.
11. Beet pesto recipe
Image: Eat, Live, Run
This stunning beet pesto, made with pistachios and Parm, will add a vibrant "wow" factor to any meal.
12. Sun-dried tomato pesto recipe
Image: One Sweet Appetite
If you have a hankering for pesto but want something a little brighter, this cheery sun-dried tomato pesto is for you.
13. Roasted eggplant pesto recipe
Image: Fat Free Vegan
Roasted eggplant makes this a hearty, creamy pesto that's perfect with a hot bowl of pasta on a chilly evening.
14. Creamy whipped feta with carrot pesto recipe
Image: Lady and Pups
The perfect combo of salty, tangy and sweet, this carrot pesto and feta dip is so good you'll want to eat it by the spoonful.
15. Cheesy pesto white bean mash recipe
Image: Amuse Your Bouche
This protein-rich, vegetarian-friendly dish is incredibly versatile. Eat it as a side dish, or loosen it with some hot pasta water to create a decadent sauce. Either way, you and your dinner companions will leave the table satisfied.
16. Spicy lemon pesto recipe
Bright lemon and spicy red pepper flakes take this pesto beyond its traditional roots. Try it with pasta, chicken or fish for a zesty, tasty meal.
17. Broccoli and basil pesto recipe
Give your pesto a healthy boost by adding broccoli along with the basil. Once it's blended, you won't even know you're getting an extra dose of veggies with your meal.
18. Chipotle pesto recipe
Smoky and robust, this pesto is the perfect accompaniment to a Southwestern pasta studded with black beans, corn and avocado.
19. Vegetarian meatballs with pesto cream sauce recipe
Cream sauce can sometimes feel heavy, but nothing brightens it up quite like pesto. Here, the creamy, fragrant sauce blankets savory vegetarian meatballs, making for an elegant and satisfying meat-free meal.
20. Pesto guacamole recipe
Combine your two favorite dips — guacamole and pesto — to create a super-appetizer unlike anything your taste buds have ever experienced.