Quick guide to making pesto

This article was originally published in August 2014

The wonderful thing about pesto is how much flavor it offers in relation to its simplicity. The same technique applies whether you use a mortar and pestle, blender or food processor.

First, roughly chop your ingredients. Then combine the nuts and aromatics and grind them together a bit before adding the greens. Continue grinding while drizzling in the oil, and blend until you have the consistency you want — total time will vary depending on the hardness of the nuts and your texture preference. Taste and season with salt, or if you’d prefer to add dairy, stir in a salty, finely grated hard cheese.

Nuts & Seeds

Pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts

Aromatics

Garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, citrus juice, citrus zest, miso

Oil

Olive, avocado, sunflower, walnut, coconut

Mix and match or choose one

Tender herbs: basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, tarragon
Bitter greens: arugula, kale, turnip greens, spinach
Spicy greens: mustard greens, radish tops, mizuna

Cheese

Parmesan, Myzithra, Grana Padano, Pecorino, Manchego

Your perfect pesto

It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Spread it on pizza, sandwiches or steaks, or toss it with pasta, steamed vegetables or salads.

Save time with one of our tasty prepared pestos

PCC Vegan Basil Pesto

This fresh pesto is made with a mix of pumpkin seeds and almonds and pairs perfectly with tomatoes. Stir it into pasta salad, spread it on a sandwich or top your pizza with this cheese-free favorite.

Ritrovo Selections Tuscan Kale Pesto

Made with lacinato kale, almonds and Tuscan spices, this hearty and nutritious vegan pesto is the perfect addition to punch up your recipes. Spread it on a panini, top bruschetta or serve with seafood.

Cibo Artichoke Lemon

Stirred into pasta or stuffed in a chicken breast, this bright, refreshing pesto has a springtime freshness that’s very welcome on hot summer evenings. For absolute simplicity, serve with pita chips and dry white wine.

Napoleon Sweet Pepper Pesto

Roasted red peppers have an addictive savory-sweet depth. Lovely alongside salty cheese or brushed on salmon, it also makes a tasty omelet filling with a bit of Havarti cheese.

Cibo Naturals Artichoke Lemon Pesto

Stirred into pasta or stuffed in a chicken breast, this bright, refreshing pesto has a springtime freshness that’s very welcome on hot summer evenings. For absolute simplicity, serve with pita chips and dry white wine.

Santini Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

The rich, earthy sweetness of sun-dried tomatoes makes a great condiment for sandwiches, or add to your favorite pasta and top with kalamata olives.

Revised December 2020

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