4 Homemade Pesto Recipes To Make This Summer April 26, 2017

by Eat

Four recipes using pesto + four quick and easy ways to make it = dinnertime bliss. 

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog reading to talk pesto. Because if there’s anything that’ll make you happy this season, it’s jazzing up pasta. Or chicken. Or fish. Or, well, you get the idea.

Pesto, which is Italian for “pounded,” is an uncooked sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy. It’s traditionally made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, but we had a feeling other herbs and nuts would work, too. So we embarked on an ambitious game of pesto musical chairs to test and taste different combos until we reached a delicious sweet spot. Four sweet spots, actually.

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Roasted Red Pepper/Cashew Pesto

Don’t let the fact that this pesto is herb-less deter you. The cashews lend a surprising creaminess, the chili flakes lend a kick of heat, and the lemon lends a touch of tang.


  • 3/4 Cup Roasted Red Peppers (from a jar)
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Cashews
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Red Chili Flakes, to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese, to taste


  1. Add roasted red peppers, olive oil, and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Pulse until combined but not smooth.
  2. Roughly chop cashews. Add to food processor and blend. Add more olive oil or water if too thick.
  3. Squeeze in lemon juice and sprinkle in red chili flakes (to taste).
  4. Grate in Parmesan and stir by hand.

Basil/Brazil Nut Pesto

Brazil nuts may be an unconventional choice for pesto, but the rich and creamy flavors manage to pair beautifully with peppery arugula, fragrant basil, and salty Parmesan.


  • 1/4 Cup Brazil Nuts
  • 1/3 Cup Basil, Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Arugula, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Roughly chop Brazil nuts.
  2. Add nuts, basil, arugula, Parmesan, and olive oil into a blender. Pulse until combined but not smooth. Add more olive oil or water if too thick.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cilantro/Walnut Pesto

Sweet, spicy, AND creamy? You bet.


  • 2 Green Chile Peppers
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Walnuts
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey
  • Parmesan Cheese, to taste
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Add chile peppers, cilantro, and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until combined but not smooth.
  2. Roughly chop walnuts. Add to food processor with a pinch of salt. Pulse until combined, adding more olive oil or water if too thick.
  3. Add honey and pulse again.
  4. Grate in Parmesan, season to taste with salt, and stir to combine.

Sour Cream/Pine Nut Pesto

The combination of sour cream and Parmesan makes for one comforting pesto.


  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3/4 Cup Sour Cream
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  1. Add basil, half the pine nuts, and Parmesan into a food processor. Blend until combined, adding olive oil or water if too thick.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pesto and sour cream.
  3. Fold in remaining pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Now the only question is… what to do with these pestos? Fear not, we’re one step ahead of you with these four delicious dinner recipes using pesto.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Arugula-Mint Pesto, Quinoa Salad, and Char-Broiled Snap Peas

recipes using pesto-HelloFresh-salmon-arugula-mint-pesto-quinoa-peas

The original recipe calls for a peppery arugula and refreshing mint combo, but let’s be honest: we’d be happy topping tender salmon with any of these four pestos.

Lemony Pan-Seared Chicken with Pesto, Peas, and Potatoes

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This recipe features a side dish built around the four Ps: pesto, peas, potatoes, and pine nuts (and a bonus fifth if you count seasoning with pepper). For an extra creamy oomph, go for the sour cream/pine nut pesto here.

Pesto Tortelloni Bake with Asparagus and Parmesan

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Although this one-pan dish has plenty of creamy, comforting elements, it also has tons of green to keep things fresh. Asparagus spears are folded in to keep things snappy, while pesto adds an herby touch throughout. We recommend basil/Brazil nut pesto for this one, but feel free to flex your culinary muscles and experiment (and then let us know how it turns out!).

Ultimate Spring Salad with Radishes, Snap Peas, Pesto, and Mozzarella

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What makes this salad ultimate? Some would say it’s the crisp snap peas and radishes, while others are on team potato for the extra bulk. But us? We’re all about the fresh mozzarella and pesto combo. The basil/Brazil nut pesto would taste heavenly here, as would the roasted red pepper/cashew pesto.

Looking for more seasonal deliciousness and cooking inspiration to make you happy this spring? Two words for you: strawberry rhubarb.

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