Recently, I’ve been seeing all different variations of pesto. I think I might have spotted a trend. Tried and true pesto is made with lots of basil and pine nuts with olive oil, Parmesan, and garlic.* For these recipes, basil is exchanged with another dark leafy green, and the pine nuts are substituted with other kinds of nuts.

If you’ve never purchased pine nuts, they can be quite expensive (a good reason to make a switch). When I was growing basil over the summer, I collected leaves from my one little basil plant for a few days to make a homemade pesto. After hitting the grocery store to purchase some pignolias, I was shocked at how one little jar could cost so much. I ended up making my pesto with walnuts, and it turned out great. Plus, I had plenty of walnuts left over to make some delicious pancakes. (Check out this post on toasting the nuts to bring out their maximum flavor.)

Spring will bring leafy greens before you know it. Here are some interesting and new interpretations of pesto:

Swiss chard + pepitas from Bev Cooks 


Kale + walnuts from The Perfect Bite


Arugula + pistachios from Love and Olive Oil (recipe in the comments)


Spinach + arugula + walnut  from FarmFlavor 


Wendy’s winter pesto with cilantro + arugula + pepitas from Girl’s Gone Child


Jalapenos + almonds from Just a Taste 

*If you want to make a “normal” pesto, here’s a good traditional recipe from Just a Taste.

Storage tips:

See Also:  Time to Tailgate: Recipe Roundup

About the Author: Becca Ary blogs about her adventures in the kitchen and around the house at



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