How To Make Pesto From Any Leafy Green

Pesto sauce ingredients

Are you looking for a tasty pesto recipe, but you aren’t really a huge fan of basil? Look no further! Basil isn’t what makes pesto so tasty anyways! It’s the crunchy toasted nuts, finely aged cheese, and smooth olive oil that will give your pesto that irresistible flavor everyone is looking for.


Your pesto’s most distinctive feature will be whatever green veggie you choose for its base. Different greens will require different pre-pesto treatments, such as boiling and draining. Tender herbs such as like cilantro and parsley can be used raw. Tougher stuff like collards or kale will need a quick blanch in salted water to soften them up, then drained to make sure you’re not adding too much extra liquid to your sauce.

Try the following: Spinach, peas, broccoli, parsley. cilantro, garlic scapes, or radish tops.


There’s a huge variety of hearty nuts and salty seeds that can be used to make the perfect pesto! These will add an earthy richness that every pesto-lover desires. You definitely don’t need to break the bank with pine nuts or some other over-priced nut. Whatever you decide to use, make sure to give your nuts or seeds a good toasting in the oven before buzzing them up, which will add a dark, roasted taste to your finished sauce.

Try the following: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds


While parmesan is the most popular cheese to add to pesto, it isn’t your only option. Basically, any hard, salty, aged cheese will add the perfect flavor and texture to your pesto! If you want to make a dairy-free pesto, you can always add extra nuts and seeds to compensate.

Try the following: Aged gouda, aged cheddar, aged Asiago, or cotija

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Everything Else

While the greens, nuts, and cheese are typically what come to mind when someone thinks of pesto, the supporting cast is just as important as the main characters! You can always stick with the traditional choice of olive oil, but if you want to switch it up you can always try a neutral oil like canola oil or grapeseed! Another go-to for brightening up your pesto is lemon juice, but you can add any sort of citrus juice or vinegar to spice it up.

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