Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Learn to Cook: Simple Pesto

By Value Guru, September 8, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Value Guru

Whether you grow your own, shop the farmer's market or pick up local produce at Whole Foods Market, knowing where it comes from makes a difference, doesn't it? Take advantage of whatever's local as you learn to cook-and learn to save-with this Simple Pesto recipe. Why Should I? Pesto is so versatile, you'll never run out of ways to enjoy it. Toss spoonfuls of this no-cook sauce with hot pasta or steamed vegetables, use it as a spread on sandwiches and wraps, or serve as a dip with raw veggies or pita chips. Pesto easily adapts to your budget by substituting sale-priced nuts, herbs/greens and cheese, or what you've got on hand or in the garden. Plus, sunflower seeds might be the ticket for those with nut allergies. {C}What Do I Need? ¼ cup nuts, such as walnuts or pine nuts, or sunflower kernels 2 cups packed chopped raw herbs/greens, such as basil, kale or parsley ½ cup grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan or Romano 2 TB 365 Everyday Value® Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 TB lemon juice 1 to 2 TB water (optional) ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper Okay, Let's Do This Thing Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. That's it! Different Takes

  • Classic: pine nuts + basil + Parmesan
  • Sunny: sunflower kernels + parsley + Romano
  • Omega-3: walnuts + kale + Manchego
  • Southwest: pumpkin seeds + cilantro + Vella Dry Jack
  • Vegan: cashews + arugula + ¼ cup nutritional yeast

Tips & Tricks

  • Add black olives, artichoke hearts or sundried tomatoes.
  • Use pecans, cashews or soy "nuts" for the nuts.
  • Try green onion tops or spinach for the herbs/greens.
  • Substitute lime, orange or grapefruit juice instead of lemon juice.
  • For even coating, when tossing pesto with pasta, add a splash of the pasta cooking water.
  • Tender stems from greens like basil and cilantro can be included.

You'll find even more health-saving, money-saving recipes, tips and deals in The Whole Deal value guide and there are over $45 in coupons in the in-store guide and online! Have you come up with any creative pesto variations?




susan whang says ...
i looove pestos! in fact i love dips, spreads and sauces that make for more interesting dishes or is just plain good for noshing. pesto is one of those awesomely versatile accents that kick up the excitement level on a pasta dish, chicken dinner, or even grain salads. this recipes sounds amazing- what with the parmesan, but for those who are lactose intolerant, i made a version without cheese! basil pecan pesto to the rescue: http://www.pranawellness.org/1/post/2010/08/basil-pecan-pesto-to-the-rescue.html xoS
09/08/2010 12:24:58 PM CDT
SusieBee says ...
Pesto is so easy to make and gives you plenty of fun ways to use it: on pasta, over chicken or pork for a tasty baked main dish, over goat cheese for a tangy dip... You can make and freeze basil for later use: http://eatlittleeatbig.blogspot.com/2010/09/for-freezer-basil-walnut-pesto.html
09/08/2010 1:19:21 PM CDT
Joe @ Eden Kitchen says ...
I love making pesto to flavor my meals. It is so easy and so tasty. Last weekend I made a walnut and flat-leaf parsley pesto with millet and broccoli: http://edenkitchen.com/warm-millet-broccoli/
09/08/2010 1:46:16 PM CDT
Juliette says ...
A nut allergy is the despair of my life ... but soy "nuts" make an excellent substitution in pesto! I also suggest rehydrating sundried tomatoes in barely-boiling water, and adding a splash or two of that cooking water along with the sundried tomatoes to smooth out your pesto.
09/10/2010 3:06:49 PM CDT
Mary Daly says ...
What you don't add garlic to the pesto??
09/10/2010 8:32:04 PM CDT
Catherine K says ...
Garlic. Where's the garlic? I just LOVE pesto - made my own for the first time this summer when I had a big crop of basil. I used LOTS of garlic! YUM!!
09/10/2010 10:01:20 PM CDT
Rowena says ...
Garlic! You forgot garlic. I put 6 cloves in this recipe & it could have used more.
09/11/2010 8:43:51 PM CDT
Michelle F. says ...
For any of you who use parsley to make pesto, do you use any of the stems?
09/13/2010 6:42:02 PM CDT
mary golden says ...
The pesto recipes were great and varied. Thank you.
09/15/2010 6:47:28 PM CDT
Linda Boliver says ...
There is no garlic in your pesto recipes! In my family, we all love plenty of raw organic garlic in our basil pesto. Give it a try!
09/16/2010 10:28:15 PM CDT
Lek moy says ...
Can I get the sun dried tomato pesto recipE?
12/02/2014 5:16:51 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@LEK - If this is a pesto made at your local store, I would suggest reaching out to them to see if they have a recipe to share. Otherwise, we have a recipe for sun dried tomato pesto online at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/asparagus-pasta-sun-dried-tomato-pesto.
12/03/2014 12:14:05 PM CST