4 Homemade Pesto Recipes You NEED To Try

November 6, 2018
by Amanda Li Our Recipes

    Who says pesto needs to come store-bought in a jar? Make fresh pesto at home with one of our 4 homemade pesto recipes and enjoy dinnertime bliss with this delicious and classic condiment.

    recipes using pesto-HelloFresh-roasted-red-pepper-cashews-basil-arugula-cilantro-walnuts-sour-cream-pine-nuts

    We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog reading to talk seriously about pesto. Because if there’s anything that’ll make you happy all year round, it’s jazzing up pasta. Or chicken. Or fish. Or, well, you get the idea. Add some pesto and any dish is instantly elevated.

    Pesto, which is Italian for “pounded,” is an uncooked sauce that originated in Genoa, Italy. It’s traditionally made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, but we had a feeling other herbs and nuts would work too. So we embarked on an ambitious game of pesto musical chairs to test and, more importantly, taste different combos until we reached a delicious sweet spot. Four sweet spots, actually.

    homemade pesto recipes -HelloFresh-Infographic

    Roasted Red Pepper-Cashew Pesto

    Don’t let the fact that this pesto is herb-less deter you. The crushed cashews are surprisingly creamy, the chili flakes lend a kick of heat, and the lemon brings the tang.


    • 3/4 Cup Roasted Red Peppers (from a jar)
    • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
    • Salt, to taste
    • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Cashews
    • Juice of 1 Lemon
    • Red Chili Flakes, to taste
    • Parmesan Cheese, to taste


    1. Add roasted red peppers, olive oil, and a pinch of salt into a food processor. Pulse until combined but not smooth.
    2. Roughly chop cashews. Add to food processor and blend. Add more olive oil if too thick.
    3. Squeeze in lemon juice and sprinkle in red chili flakes (to taste).
    4. Grate in Parmesan and stir to combine.

    Basil-Brazil Nut Pesto

    Brazil nuts may be an unconventional choice for pesto, but the rich and creamy flavours manage to pair beautifully with peppery arugula, fragrant basil, and salty Parmesan.


    • 1/4 Cup Brazil Nuts
    • 1/3 Cup Basil, Chopped
    • 1/3 Cup Arugula, Chopped
    • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
    • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste


    1. Roughly chop Brazil nuts.
    2. Add nuts, basil, arugula, Parmesan, and olive oil into a blender. Pulse until combined but not smooth. Add more olive oil if too thick.
    3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Cilantro-Walnut Pesto

    Sweet, spicy, AND creamy? You bet.


    • 2 Green Chili Peppers
    • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
    • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
    • 1/3 Cup Walnuts
    • 1 Teaspoon Honey
    • Parmesan Cheese, to taste
    • Salt, to taste


    1. Add chili peppers, cilantro, and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until combined but not smooth.
    2. Roughly chop walnuts. Add to food processor with a pinch of salt. Pulse until combined, adding more olive oil if too thick.
    3. Add honey and pulse again.
    4. Grate in Parmesan, season to taste with salt, and stir to combine.

    Sour Cream-Pine Nut Pesto

    The combination of sour cream and Parmesan makes for one smooth pesto.


    • 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
    • 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts, toasted
    • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
    • 3/4 Cup Sour Cream
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste


    1. Add basil, half the pine nuts, and grated Parmesan into a food processor. Blend until combined, adding olive oil if too thick.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together pesto and sour cream.
    3. Fold in remaining pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Now the only question is… what to do with these pestos? Fear not, we’re one step ahead of you with these four delicious dinner recipes using pesto.

    Oven-Baked Salmon with Parsley Pistou and Tarragon-Garlic Peas

    The original recipe calls for a bright and lemony french pistou, but let’s be honest: We’d be happy topping tender salmon with any of these four pestos.

    homemade pesto recipes -HelloFresh-salmon

    Pesto Chicken with Lemony Couscous and Zucchini Salad

    Take this Pesto Chicken recipe to the next level with one of our homemade pesto recipes.  Pair it with this lemony couscous with crumbles of feta cheese and beautiful zucchini ribbons and you’ve achieved pesto perfection.

    homemade pesto recipes -HelloFresh-chicken

    Roasted Portobello Sandwich with Caramelized Red Onions and Sweet Potatoes

    Pesto + Portobello Mushrooms = A perfect pair. Spread your fav of our homemade pesto recipes on this delicious sandwich for a little extra flare. Pro Tip: Your sweet potatoes will taste 10x better dipped in a creamy pesto aioli. For extra creamy oomph and mix your homemade pesto into your aioli.

    homemade-pesto-recipes-portobello burger

    We’re sure that by now you have pesto fever, so free to flex your culinary muscles and experiment with different homemade pesto recipes (and then let us know how it turns out!).  If you get stuck, we’re sure these 5 Pasta Recipes will help fuel your inspiration.

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