Classic Basil Pesto|

Classic Basil Pesto

By Sally Cameron on July 14, 2012

sauces and condiments, the daniel plan, vegetarian,


Classic basil pesto instantly transforms ordinary dishes into something delicious and different in a flash. And it’s so versatile. Make it at home and control the recipe to your taste using top quality ingredients. Try some of the ideas in my list below.

Classic Basil Pesto – A Fresh, Uncooked Sauce

Traditionally from Genoa, Italy, pesto is a fresh uncooked sauce or paste made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, grated cheese and garlic. I add a little fresh lemon juice to mine.

Historically pesto was made in a mortar and pestle. I prefer the power of my food processor to make it easily and quickly. Make it chunky or smooth. It’s up to you.

What to Do With Classic Basil Pesto

  • Stir a couple of generous tablespoons into mashed potatoes for pesto mashed potatoes
  • Toss pesto with roasted red potatoes when they are hot out of the oven
  • Transform a simple turkey  sandwich into something special with pesto instead of mayo and mustard, then grill it on a Panini maker for a pesto Panini
  • Make pesto-mayonnaise by combining pest and a little mayo (Veganiase is the best!)
  • Add to portobello mushrooms as an appetizer or meatless main dish
  • Garnish soup, like the classic tomato soup recipe
  • Mix with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt as a dip for raw vegetables (crudités)
  • Stir it into risotto for a rich, vibrant green Pesto Risotto
  • Thin pesto down with a little half and half or milk, warm it up and made a sauce for fresh broiled swordfish or salmon
  • Toss with cooked, chilled rotini (corkscrew) pasta, add tomatoes if desired for a quick, cool pasta salad
  • Put a few dollops on a platter of sliced tomatoes and mozzarella drizzled with good Balsamic vinegar and olive oil for an Italian Caprese-style salad
  • Add a little to a vinaigrette for a pesto dressing for tossed green salad or roasted or grilled vegetables
  • Garnish deviled eggs
  • Thin the pesto with milk or half and half, warm,  and make a sauce for grilled or roast fish, like halibut or salmon

But the dish that’s a “go-to” when I’ve got a hungry husband in need of a fast dinner is pasta with pesto and chicken. It’s one of his all-time favorites. Just follow the link for my recipe.


Leave a Comment
Rebecca | July 15, 2012 at 7:22 am

Wow, look at all of those ideas to use this gorgeous pesto! Can’t wait to try it on roasted red potatoes!

Shut Up & Cook | July 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Two questions…how many cups does 8 oz equate to and do you think Asian Basil would work or would the purple in the leaf make it look ugly?

    Sally | July 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Erina. Will have to figure the cups vs ounces when I make it, probably this afternoon. Will let you know. I did ounces because it will depend on how tightly you stuff the cups. I think the purple in the leaf could muddy the color and make it not as attractive. Might taste good though.

    sally | July 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Erina, it’s 4 cups of tightly packed leaves, no stems. Making some tonight for a shrimp dish! Cuts in half easily for a half batch. 4 ounces = 2 cups packed.

Ann Mah | July 16, 2012 at 9:13 am

Pesto is one of my favorite leftovers and you’ve given me so many new ideas. I also love to stir it into vegetable soup (like minestrone) — it’s so refreshing in the summer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *