When it comes to summer food, my mind usually goes to seasonal faves like burgers, watermelon, tomatoes, grilled hot dogs, and corn. But there’s another super summery ingredient that it would be a shame to forget about—pesto! Basil is about as summery as it gets—and even though you can get great jarred pesto year-round, there’s nothing like some freshly blended pesto in the warmer months to jazz up even the simplest of meals. Since we could all use a little more pesto in our lives, we’ve rounded up the best pesto recipes we could find.

Pesto and pasta go together beautifully, but there is actually so much more that you can do with this delicious condiment. You can drizzle it over a buddha bowl, use it as the base of a pizza, or serve alongside any protein or veggie. Much like hummus, there are lots of variations on traditional pesto recipes, but today we’re mainly sticking with the OG (barring a few standout exceptions.)

Hailing from Genoa, Italy, pesto sauce traditionally consists of crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil, and a hard cheese like parmigiano-reggiano or pecorino, all mixed together with oil.

If you’ve got a food processor, then this is the best time to use it. But that doesn’t mean you can only use pesto on Italian dishes. It goes well with just about everything!

Keep scrolling for a great pesto recipe you can quickly whip up at home, and 15 of the best pesto recipes on the internet that’ll give you all kinds of inspiration for what to do with it.

How to make pesto

We’re big fans of Foodie Crush’s traditional basil pesto recipe. Thanks to the food processor, it’s incredibly easy to make, but the secret is in the proportions. Adding too much garlic or not enough olive oil is a recipe for disaster, so be sure to be mindful of your measurements!

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves washed, stemmed, and finely packed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Add garlic, toasted pine nuts, and parmesan cheese to the food processor and process until smooth. Then, add the fresh basil leaves and pulse until chopped.

While the processor is still running, slowly pour olive oil through the chute until the mixture is emulsified and smooth.

Season with kosher salt, lemon juice, and then pulse again. Taste and then adjust to your liking.

Pro tip: Eat the pesto immediately or store it in a sealed jar for up to a week. If you’re storing for later use, pour a generous amount of olive oil atop the pesto to form an oily seal. It will prevent the pesto from turning dark. Stir the oil into the sauce before using it.

Read on for some of the best pesto recipes on the internet…

Pesto and Goat Cheese Frittata

Why We Love It: Frittatas are the perfect brunch food, but if you’re like me, then you love to eat them just as much for dinner as well. It’s a one-pan meal that’s easy to throw together, filling, healthy, and satisfying. The pesto gives this frittata a bright, herby zing that goes perfectly with a goat cheese tang.
Hero Ingredient: Goat cheese just makes everything better, don’t you think?
Get the recipe here.

Burrata with Pesto and Figs

Why We Love It: A burrata appetizer is always a crowd-pleaser, but the addition of pesto and figs really kicks it up a notch. It’s an incredibly simple dish that nevertheless feels very elegant. Since figs have a short season, feel free to swap them out with cherries, peaches, or pears.
Hero Ingredient: Figs! I bet you thought I was gonna say burrata, but surprise! Make sure they’re really ripe and sweet since they are the star of this dish.
Get the recipe here.

Pesto Pasta Primavera

Why We Love It: It’s so much easier to make than it looks, so you can whip together a seriously impressive dish with minimal effort. As if that weren’t enough, it’s bursting with flavor, is nutritious and healthy, and easy to clean up. Just be sure to chop all your veggies to be about the same size so they cook evenly. You want crisp, tender veggies that don’t get mushy.

Hero Ingredient: Lemon zest is technically an optional garnish, but it adds a brightness and acidity that you won’t want to miss out on.
Get the recipe here.

Baked Pesto Salmon with Broccolini 

Why We Love It: As healthy as it is flavorful, this baked salmon recipe only uses five ingredients and still manages to be hearty and filling. It’s the perfect weeknight meal and the salmon makes an excellent vessel for our beloved pesto sauce. Treat yourself to a delicious, flaky protein in just 15 minutes flat!
Hero Ingredient: Broccolini’s tender stalks cook much quicker than broccoli but it’s just as rich in vitamins like A, C, and K, while also being a great source of calcium.
Get the recipe here.

Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad from Half Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: Add a little something special to your everyday Caesar salad with this delicious spin on a classic from Half Baked Harvest. The pesto chicken is tossed with a creamy, lemony parmesan tahini dressing. It’s easy to make, colorful, tasty, satisfying, and healthy.
Hero Ingredient: Burrata elevates this from an everyday salad to an extremely exciting dish.
Get the recipe here.

Easy Caprese Pesto Penne

Why We Love It: Craving a Caprese but need something a bit more substantial? This pasta dish takes your favorite flavors, jazzes them all up, and 10 minutes later you’ve got a delicious, satisfying meal that is sure to please everyone.

Hero Ingredient: Buffalo mozzarella. Creamy and mouthwatering, you don’t want to miss out on this incredible cheese.
Get the recipe here.

Sausage, Kale, and Spätzle Pesto Bake from Spoon Fork Bacon

Why We Love It: This dish is perfect for large groups, and I love that you can assemble it ahead of time so you can just pop it in the oven when it’s almost time to eat. You don’t need a spätzle maker for this dish, a colander with wider holes will do! It’s hearty, warming, and delicious.
Hero Ingredient: I’m a big fan of anything with sausage, and what’s great about this recipe is that you can use whichever kind is your favorite. I love a spicy Italian or Andouille.
Get the recipe here.

Peach, Pesto, and Balsamic Pizza

Why We Love It: Homemade pizza always hits the spot, and this recipe is a delicious homage to our favorite summer flavors. The combination simply cannot be beaten. You get an herby zing from the pesto, a salty, creamy bite thanks to the mozz, a burst of sweetness from the peaches, and a tang from the balsamic glaze. Yum!

Hero Ingredient: The peaches steal the show on this fantastic pizza recipe.
Get the recipe here.

Pesto Prosciutto Chicken Breasts from Fed and Fit

Why We Love It: This is a great option if you’ve got friends who don’t eat dairy, since it features a dairy-free roasted garlic pesto. It gives the chicken a huge boost of flavor. Once your pesto is made, the rest of the recipe is a cinch.

Hero Ingredient: Prosciutto just makes everything blissful.
Get the recipe here.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Why We Love It: Not only are these tacos packed with nutritious ingredients, but they’re a delicious and filling meal that satisfies the weekly taco hankering. The tacos happen to be vegan and gluten-free, with a cilantro pesto that puts a twist on your everyday recipe.
Hero Ingredient: Roasted cauliflower is incredibly versatile, and never more so than when it transforms a taco.
Get the recipe here.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Why We Love It: Prefer your cauliflower in crust form? Then look no further than this cauliflower crust pizza. It’s bursting with flavor and includes one of our favorite combos, pesto and goat cheese.
Hero Ingredient: Get the best, brightest, most beautiful tomatoes you can for this pizza.
Get the recipe here.

Pesto Potato Salad from Half Baked Harvest

Why We Love It: A good potato salad recipe is a must during the summer season, and this beauty is mayo-free, using a lemony basil pesto instead. Hard-boiled eggs add extra protein to this light, vibrant, and fresh potato salad.

Hero Ingredient: I’m a hard-boiled egg lover, so anytime I see one in a dish I instantly swoon. You can even undercook them a touch for jammier yolks.
Get the recipe here.

Pea Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Arugula from Minimalist Baker

Why We Love It: This vegan pesto dish is a nice variation to the average pesto pasta recipe. Sun-dried tomatoes and arugula perfectly complement this healthy, delicious, and hearty meal. the best part? It comes together in 30 minutes flat.
Hero Ingredient: Peas! There’s nothing like the zippy taste of fresh peas.
Get the recipe here.

Pesto and Garlic Shrimp Bruschetta from Foodie Crush

Why We Love It: This bruschetta recipe includes garlicky poached shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, and feta cheese with a balsamic glaze. It’s easy to throw together but remains an elegant and delicious appetizer that is sure to make everyone happy.

Hero Ingredient: Balsamic glaze pumps up the flavor without overpowering the delicious pesto.
Get the recipe here.

Zucchini Noodle Pesto Pasta

Why We Love It: Sometimes you just want something that gives you the essence of pasta but isn’t as heavy, and that’s where zucchini noodles come in. This is a delicious, guilt-free recipe that is easy to throw together and tastes like a dream.

Hero Ingredient: If you’ve never tried zucchini noodles then let this dish be your intro. They’re easy to make if you’ve got a spiralizer, but if you don’t have one you can generally find them already pre-spiraled at your local grocer.
Get the recipe here.

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