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The Best-o Pesto (and the 5 best ways to use it)

By Alison Gallun

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Aug 2, 2014 8:30:00 AM

pesto-sauce-recipeServe it to me tossed with pasta or as a spread… Or just give me a spoon and a tub of it plain. Is there anything not to love about pesto?

With a busy schedule, it’s hard for me to find ways to make delicious food with wholesome ingredients on a regular basis. That’s likely part of the reason pesto could be its own food group in my diet. 

Why do I love this heavenly recipe so much? Easy. It’s a great way to incorporate fresh basil into a ton of meals. Making one batch takes only 5 minutes, and makes enough to use for a few days and freeze for future use. (I like to freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays for easy-thaw, individual serving sizes.)

Although it’s fairly easy to grow indoors during the winter, basil thrives in the summer sun. Whether you pesto-bread-spreadhave a green thumb and your own herb garden, or pick up basil from the local farmer’s market like I do, there’s no reason to miss out on the summer’s best herb. 

With so many flavors, this recipe is not only easy, but also incredibly versatile. So, why not give it a try? My five favorite ways to use pesto are below, but here’s a list of 50 more ideas to try out.

Basil Pecorino Pesto

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic (depending on your tastes)
  • ½ - 2/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts (or sub in chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds if you prefer)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blend the basil, olive oil, garlic, walnuts and pine nuts in a food processor or high-speed blender.
  2. Fold in the cheese. 

best-pesto-recipes5 Best Ways to Use Pesto

  1. My personal favorite. Spread it on the inside bread when making a grilled cheese. Trust me, you won’t regret it (and you also won’t ever eat a grilled cheese without it again.)
  2. Use it as a replacement for condiments. Spread it on a wrap or on a burger instead of mayo, ketchup or mustard.
  3. Pesto Salad Dressing
  • Make a delectable dressing for quinoa, pasta or green salads by mixing together 2 parts pesto, 1 part balsamic vinegar and 1 part olive oil.
  1. Fancy Pants Prosciutto Chicken (courtesy of Chrissy Teigen’s instagram)
  • Spread it on chicken breasts; wrap it in prosciutto and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  1. Sautéed Pesto Turkey and Vegetables
  • Cook 4 oz. 98% fat free ground turkey in a pan with olive oil. Once cooked, add in vegetables of your choice and 1-2 frozen pesto cubes. Sauté and cover until vegetables are soft. Serve over a bed of quinoa and drizzle with balsamic.

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Topics: Food and Drink

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