16 Things You Can Turn Into Pesto

    Move out the way, basil. Cheese + nuts + olive oil + garlic + whatever the hell you want = awesome pesto.

    O Pesto, Prince of Pasta Sauces, Holy Anointer of Chicken, Most Herbacious Condiment! Italian grandmothers + everyone else have been making this stuff with basil since the world was born. But who says we have to keep doing it that way?

    As long as you have all the basic components that make pesto *pesto* (cheese, nuts, olive oil, garlic), the central vegetable can be almost anything you want. And you can even skip the cheese or the nuts if they don't fit into your personal diet plan. Have at it!

    1. Garlic Scapes

    Recipe: Walnut Scape Pesto

    If you're not familiar, more info on scapes over here.

    2. Parsley

    Recipe: Spaghetti With Parsley Pesto

    Parsley deserves more pesto cred than it gets; it actually keeps its pretty bright green color much longer than basil.

    3. Corn

    Recipe: Pasta with Fresh Corn Pesto

    Using fresh sweet corn instead of green stuff (and cooking it in bacon fat, because why not) makes an amazing, creamy sauce. TRY IT.

    4. Kale

    Recipe: Arugula Caprese Salad with Kale Pesto

    If there's anything you can't put kale in, we're not aware of it.

    5. Pea Shoots

    Recipe: Pesto with Pea Shoots and Garlic Scapes

    If you don't have any scapes, you can swap in a couple cloves of regular garlic + more pea shoots.

    6. Ramps

    Recipe: Ramp Pesto

    ramps #RAMPS #rampwatch

    7. Beets

    Recipe: Beet Pesto Pasta

    Not as dangerous as it looks! This tastes good and—cool trick—will turn your pasta crazy bright pink.

    8. Mint

    Recipe: Mint-Pistachio Pesto

    N.B. Mint is pretty powerful, so use this stuff judiciously.

    9. Spinach

    Recipe: Spinach Basil Pesto

    A gentle option. You can choose to combine with some herbs (or not).

    10. Carrots

    Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Carrot Pesto

    Root veggie pesto is a pretty good-looking category, all told.

    11. Tarragon

    Recipe: Cashew Tarragon Pesto

    Tarragon has an delicate, tongue-tingly flavor. Combining it with (relatively neutral) parsley works well.

    12. Arugula

    Recipe: Walnut-Arugula Pesto

    This spicy, tender little green is practically designed to be in pesto.

    13. Thyme

    Recipe: Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto and Preserved Lemon Cream

    Thyme leaves are pretty tiny, so you can bulk up the pesto with other greens too (using something mild like spinach helps the flavor come through).

    14. Roasted Red Peppers

    Recipe: Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto

    Essentially one step away from romesco sauce, but it's a very important step: CHEESE.

    15. Cilantro

    Recipe: Cilantro Pesto

    Like your pesto spent a semester abroad in Mexico!

    16. Chard

    Recipe: Linguine with Chard Pesto

    There's only so much sautéing you can do before you're desperate for some other things to do with chard.