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Pesto Possibilities

By Alana Sugar, June 17, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Basil Spinach PestoEvery summer I celebrate my home-grown, gorgeous herbs by making pesto. Pesto comes from the word “pestare” which means “to pound” or “crush.” The traditional ingredients (fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese and sheep cheese called Fiore Sardo) were crushed and ground in a mortar and pestle. The good news is a modern food processor works just as well!

Pesto is really simple to make at home and the fun part is you don’t have to stick to the traditional ingredients. I like making pesto from a variety of leafy greens like spinach or arugula, and whatever herbs I happen to have on hand, such as basil or parsley. Using a wide array of fresh, seasonal greens, herbs, veggies and other items, you can create a masterful, versatile pesto with endless possibilities.

Here are some recipes to get you started:

And here are just a few of the endless uses for pesto:

  • Spoon over steamed or sautéed veggies
  • Use in place of mayo on a sandwich or make these Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with White Bean Pesto.
  • Use as a dip for veggies, crackers and chips (especially pita chips!)
  • Spoon over a baked potato
  • Stir into hot cooked grains or legumes
  • Use as a garnish for soups, stews and casseroles
  • Eat it by the spoonful (just don’t tell)
  • Blend with favorite salad dressing or use as is on a salad
  • Add a spoonful to chicken, tuna or egg salad
  • Spoon over grilled vegetables, meat, fish, chicken, tofu or tempeh. Try this Salmon with Cilantro Pumpkin Seed Pesto or this Red Snapper with Pumpkin Seed Pesto. If veggies are your thing, try our Grilled Squash with Cilantro-Pecan Pesto.
  • Spread over bread and toast like you would garlic bread
  • Stir into cottage, ricotta or soft goat cheese
  • Spoon into bell pepper “boats”

For “presto” pesto, look for the convenient, outstanding, ready-made pesto sauces in our stores. 

Do you have a passion for pesto? Got a favorite recipe? I’d love to know.

Category: Food & Recipes, Produce




Lorena says ...
yes....I LOVE pesto! I've been experimenting with a Cilantro pesto because I have lots of it in my garden, and it's soooo healthy for you! It has Cilantro (2cups), garlic cloves (3), lemon juice (2Tbsp), olive oil (or toasted sesame), salt and pepper. It's very yummy. I've also tried it w/ the traditional parmesan and walnuts, instead of pinon for the nuts and walnut oil. (no lemon)
06/19/2013 4:49:49 PM CDT
A.J. says ...
Pistachios are a good substitute for pine nuts (that have become expensive) & Meyer lemon olive oil provides a nice brightness. One can choose basil and/or arugula (adds a peppery note) plus parm, gatlic, s&p. Smear this pesto on toasted bread, with sun dried tomatoes & feta for a Mediterranean bruschetta.
06/24/2013 9:40:34 PM CDT
Alheniel says ...
Today I made a pesto sauce using basil , parsley, oregano, rosemary and kale, from my garden. Seasoned with olive oil, also Parmesan and goat chesse, with little garlic ( I have noticed that garlic gets quite strong when after a couple of days. I do not add the pine nuts due to health reasons,,,and my family loves this pesto, Today I served it with salmon...yummy!
07/07/2013 9:40:24 PM CDT
madeleine low says ...
You left out the very best pesto of all! BLACK KALE pesto!
08/21/2013 5:18:07 PM CDT