The natural flavor of basil shines in pesto, and the sauce is a perfect addition to pasta meals, chicken, pork, and seafood dishes, and sandwich toppings. But if you’re bored with the usual options, try one of these inventive recipes that showcases pesto in unique and tasty ways. Serve the results with basil lemonade and finish with a strawberry-basil popsicle to enhance the herb’s flavor. Don’t forget to freeze any extra pesto in ice cube trays so you can enjoy the garden’s goodness all year long.
Strawberry, Goat Cheese, and Pesto Bruschetta
Courtesy of Healthy in CandylandGive bruschetta a decidedly summertime vibe with this simple-yet-delicious recipe from Healthy in Candyland. Spread bread with goat cheese and then pesto, and place sliced strawberries on top. Place on a baking sheet and under the broiler for a few minutes until toast gets browned and crispy around the edges.
Get the recipe: Strawberry, Goat Cheese, and Pesto Bruschetta
Pesto Ice Cream with Walnut Pesto Candy
Courtesy of Y-I-Eat-NFresh basil leaves, a handful of pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil add a pesto zing to basic homemade ice cream in this inventive recipe from Y-I-Eat-N. A walnut pesto candy can top the savory frozen dish, or serve it with sweet egg noodle pasta and some shaved parmesan for a sweet dinnertime meal.
Get the recipe: Pesto Ice Cream with Walnut Pesto Candy
Tomato Pesto Swirl Bread
Courtesy of cookistryThis gorgeous loaf of bread from Cookistry is made with semolina flour, tomato paste, and pesto. Spread the tomato paste and pesto onto folded dough layers before rolling it up jelly-roll style and forming into a ring. Slash the top of the loaf before baking to give hints of the yummy goodness hidden inside.
Get the recipe: Tomato Pesto Swirl Bread
Pesto Potato Mushroom Chickpea Salad
Courtesy of Keepin’ It KindOil-free pesto and a handful of hemp seeds make this summer comfort food recipe from Keepin’ It Kind incredibly healthy. Roasted mushrooms and potatoes combine with chickpeas and pesto in a satisfying salad that’s simple enough to repeat almost every night of the week.
Get the recipe: Pesto Potato Mushroom Chickpea Salad
Pesto and Brie
Courtesy of The Yummy LifeThis fancy-looking pesto appetizer from The Yummy Life is super-fast to assemble and unbelievably good. Just spread a wedge of brie cheese with four tablespoons of pesto, sprinkle some pine nuts on top, and serve it with crackers.
Get the recipe: Pesto and Brie
Pesto and Avocado Stuffed Sweet Peppers
Courtesy of Erin Gleeson for The Forest FeastThese colorful mini sweet peppers from The Forest Feast are stuffed with a creamy pesto and avocado filling. Cut off the tops of the peppers—often found in bags at the supermarket—and remove the seeds before piping in a mixture of avocado, pesto, and cream cheese.
Get the recipe: Pesto and Avocado Stuffed Sweet Peppers
Courtesy of Deliciously DeclassifiedA satisfying hummus dip is given an extra level of goodness with pesto in this recipe from Deliciously Declassified. Combine chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, roasted garlic, and pesto in the food processor, and serve with Garden Salsa Sun Chips.
Get the recipe: Pesto Hummus
Pesto Deviled Eggs
Courtesy of Fat and HappyClassic deviled eggs are back in style, and this pesto version from Fat and Happy could be the start of a tasty new tradition. Fresh basil, parmesan and mascarpone cheese, toasted pine nuts, and garlic add a zing to the picnic staple.
Get the recipe: Pesto Deviled Eggs
Open-Faced Roast Beef and Pesto Sandwich
Lisa ParkThis simple roast beef sammy is dressed up with a garlicky pesto, slices of juicy tomato, and a pile of peppery arugula. Slather a thick piece of bread with pesto and layer on the fixings.
Get the recipe: Open-Faced Roast Beef and Pesto Sandwich
Zucchini Pesto Pizza
Regan Burns CafisoPesto and paper-thin slices of zucchini create a fast and fresh pizza topping that's healthy, too. Use fresh dough and pesto (or prepared versions cut the prep time down) and layer on coursely grated fresh mozzarella, pesto, and zucchini, before drizzling on olive oil.
Get the recipe: Zucchini Pesto Pizza
Whole Wheat Penne Genovese
Courtesy of The Good Housekeeping 400 Calorie Italian 2013 by Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.An onion-flecked white bean sauté adds heft to this fresh and healthy pesto pasta dish, making it light yet satisfying. (Reprinted with permission from The Good Housekeeping 400 Calorie Italian 2013 by Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.)
Get the recipe: Whole Wheat Penne Genovese
Baked Potato Salad
Courtesy of Old-School Comfort Food by Alex Guarnaschelli. Copyright © 2013. Published by Clarkson Potter.
A bunch of fresh basil plus Dijon mustard, capers, and cornichons add an amazing twist to potato salad in this recipe by chef Alex Guarnaschelli.
Get the recipe: Baked Potato Salad