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Pesto Varieties

Meryl Downing
Pesto doesn't have to be made with summer basil. It's a healthy way to eat your greens year round with different veggies like kale, Swiss chard, spinach, arugula, and red bell pepper. Make big batches to stock your freezer with little jars, perfect for pizza sauce, pasta or paninis!
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 3 jars


  • c almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard washed and stems removed **see notes for variations
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 10 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • c Parmesan cheese grated
  • c olive oil
  • c water


  • In a food processor, add the nuts and garlic and pulse until roughly chopped.
  • Add all other ingredients except olive oil and water and process.
  • With food processor running, drizzle in the oil and water through the feed tube until well blended.
  • Store in small jars and freeze or keep in the fridge for a couple days.
  • **ARUGULA SPINACH VARIETY, sub pine nuts or walnuts for almonds and a 5oz bag spinach arugula mix for the chard, (or basil in the summer mixed with any combination of other greens, like kale, spinach or Swiss chard. Adds nutrition and "stretches" your basil--as many greens as will fit in your food processor is fine, amounts don't need to be exact).
  • **ROASTED PEPPER VARIETY, on a baking tray, roast 1 red bell pepper, 2 small tomatoes (optional), and 3 cloves of garlic (don't peel), toss all with olive oil and a little salt and pepper at 425° for 25 minutes. When slightly cooled, peel the garlic and bell pepper, remove stem and seeds. Add walnuts, roasted veggies, salt, pepper, lemon juice, Parmesan, and process. Drizzle in ¼ c olive oil, (no water) until well blended.
Keyword Freezer Prep, Pesto, Pesto Variations