6 pesto recipes with kale, basil, carrot tops and more greens

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One of the numerous reasons why pesto is really great is its double-sided variety and versatility. You can make it out of so many different things and use it in so many ways too.

You can stick with classic basil or mix in other herbs and greens. The nuts are open to interpretation, or you can skip the nuts and use seeds of your choice. Toss the pesto with pasta or spread it on a sandwich or pizza crust. Use it as a dip for crudités or crackers.

To sample the scope of the many ways to prepare and enjoy pesto, here is a collection of recipes from our archives.

Classic basil pesto, Above. This recipe from Italian cookbook legend Marcella Hazan is the kind of pesto you’ll find in Genoa, Italy. It comes together in a flash in the food processor.

This is how you get the most out of your fresh herbs

Carrot Top Pesto. Don’t throw the greens off the top of your carrots. Use them instead to make this pesto, which also has some basil in the mix. Tip: Remove the greens from your carrots as soon as you bring them home and store them separately like herbs (I usually wrap them in a slightly damp towel and put them in a bag in the vegetable bin). Leaving the greens hanging on them can cause the carrots to go limp.

Reduce waste and boost flavor with recipes that use whole veggies

Basil Cashew Pesto. Not everyone is a fan of pine nuts, especially the metallic taste some people experience after consuming them. Enter cashew nuts. They give a rich creaminess to the pesto, which has been softened with a little lemon juice.

When life gives you heaps of herbs, use them in sauces, salads and beverages

Kale pesto. This recipe is great year-round when you’re trying to eat more nutritious veggies, but is especially appreciated during cooler months when fresh, local herbs take a break.

A guide to pasta shapes and how to combine them with dishes and sauces

Sunflower seed pesto pasta. Instead of nuts and herbs, this pesto uses sunflower seeds and arugula. The recipe calls for extra virgin sunflower oil, but you can use any other oil of your choice.

Neutral vegetable oil is boring. Nutty, buttery, extra virgin sunflower oil is here and ready to be tasted.

Mustard Green + Pecan Pesto. If you like a boldly flavored pesto, choose bold mustard greens.

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