You don’t have to be Italian to love the flavor of pesto. There is nothing quite like the fragrant, brightly flavored combination of basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts all blended into a creamy paste that makes a light and delicious pasta sauce. And it’s healthy, too! You get healthy fats from the olive oil and pine nuts, active compounds in garlic help fight infection and high blood pressure and basil provides anti-inflammatory properties and magnesium (good for your heart).
This easy-to-make and super flexible sauce can also be customized in a myriad of ways. Swap the basil for spinach and the pine nuts for walnuts to make a pesto that packs a little punch of iron.. Or try swapping the basil for arugula and adding a little fresh squeezed lemon juice for a version that has a little zing to it.
While we love a hearty dish of hot pasta dressed in pesto, we also enjoy pesto in a few of these not-so-traditional ways:
Lemon Pesto Salad Dressing (created by our co-founder, Carla)
Pesto and hummus as a sandwich or wrap spread
Mixed into chicken salad
Pesto in place of the tomato sauce on a pizza
Pesto drizzled over a bowl of hot tomato soup
Pesto smeared on grilled fish
Pesto mixed into mini frittatas for breakfast
Pesto tossed with spiralized veggies
Here are a few recipe links (and a Thrive & Dine original recipe to download!). Which will be your favorite?
Kale Walnut Pesto (created by our co-founder, Linda)
Are you a pesto-lover? Do you have a favorite recipe or creative use for pesto? Try some of these combinations and let us know what you liked best! Or create your own and share your results with us…. we love to see what our readers are up to in the kitchen!
(resources: authoritynutrition.com, whfoods.com)