Basil Pesto is easy to prepare and a wonderful way to use up fresh summer basil. Need suggestions on unique ways to use it? Read on!
Last week I posted a recipe for how to roast garlic. I figured it was one of those things that most folks who like to cook have probably done before, so I considered not posting it at all. Turns out that my hunch was right because the question from a lot of you wasn’t how to do it but rather what to do with it?
And so, like any good food blogger would do in response to reader demand, I made a list of 25 tasty ways to use it. And it apparently made a lot of you happy because I received many thank you emails from inspired readers…which, in turn, made me happy…and don’t we all just want to be happy? :)
So this week we’re moving on to basil. Or, more specifically, basil pesto. Because, in my mind, basil pesto is one of those things that is also easy to make and great on the taste buds but – aside from pasta – a lot of folks just don’t know what to do with it. And there are so many wonderful ways in which to use it!
Just last week I made dinner for my parents and had some of this very batch of left over. I was cooking for Father’s Day and wanted to grill some steak, so I butterflied a flank steak, slathered it in leftover basil pesto, rolled the whole thing up and tied it with some baking string. Threw it on the grill and oh!! was it good. Super easy and such a gorgeous treat – all because I already had that delicious basil pesto sitting in my fridge.
If you haven’t made basil pesto from scratch, let me just tell you right now that it just doesn’t compare to what you buy at the supermarket. I’ve used the jarred stuff in a pinch and it’s really not too bad.
But in the middle of summer when you can get loads of fresh basil just about anywhere and it takes just minutes to whirl it in your food processor with just a few other ingredients…there’s really no reason not to make it simply because nothing else can compare. It just tastes FRESH.
I was reminiscing with a friend the other day about the way my sheets used to smell in the summertime after my mom would hang them on the clothesline. I’d crawl into bed and I would immediately know that they’d not just been washed, but hung out to dry in the warm summer air until they held that wonderful fragrance of summertime.
That’s what the flavor of basil pesto makes me think of, too.
As promised, here’s a list of 25 delicious basil pesto ideas. My favorites are tossing it with hot, roasted or grilled vegetables, adding to a steak or mixing into hot cannellini beans for an easy side dish. Or as a dip for garlic bread! In any case, enjoy these suggestions and enjoy your summer!
25 Unique Ideas for Using Basil Pesto
- Mix some into softened butter then use it to top grilled fish or steak.
- As a sandwich spread (alone or mixed with mayonnaise).
- As a topping for hot, grilled chicken.
- Add a spoonful to hot soup (especially tomato or minestrone).
- Roast or grill vegetables, then toss them with pesto.
- Pesto mashed potatoes! Just stir some in before serving.
- Toss it with fresh pasta then top with freshly-grated Parmaigiano Reggiano.
- Use it as a topping for baked potatoes!
- Mix some into plain greek yogurt or sour cream for an easy dip.
- Use it as a base for pizza instead of traditional pizza sauce. Finish it with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella.
- Slice an avocado and toss it with a tablespoon of pesto for an easy snack.
- Toss it with hot cannelini beans for an easy side dish.
- Use it as a sauce for seared scallops.
- Or as a dip for hot jumbo shrimp!
- Spread some on puff pastry, add sliced tomatoes, then bake it for an easy tart.
- Slather it on fresh corn on the cob.
- OR…remove the kernels from freshly cooked corn and toss it with pesto for an easy side dish.
- Roast some fingerling potatoes, gently crush then spoon pesto over the top.
- Spread softened goat cheese in a shallow dish and top it with pesto. Serve with crackers.
- It makes a fantastic burger topping! You can even mix it in with the burger meat before grilling.
- Mix it with mayonnaise and use that for your next potato salad.
- Stir it into hummus and serve it with crunchy vegetables and pita chips.
- Make pesto croutons: toss stale bread cubes with olive oil, then a few tablespoons of pesto. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.
- Mix some with a small amount of heated heavy cream and pour it over pasta or rice. This is amazing over cauliflower rice!
- Stir some into whisked eggs before cooking, or top your eggs with it once they’re done!
- 2 cups basil (lightly packed)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2/3 cup high quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
- Add all the ingredients except parmesan to a food processor or high-powered blender. Blend on high until it's very smooth.
- Add the parmesan and blend it again until it's smooth.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 231Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 260mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.