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Presto! It’s pesto! Go beyond basil with different herb combinations

By the editors of Relish Magazine | 9/16/2016, 6 a.m.
Flavor-packed pestos pair with plenty beyond the usual pasta. And even better, they keep covered in the refrigerator up to ...

Flavor-packed pestos pair with plenty beyond the usual pasta. And even better, they keep covered in the refrigerator up to four weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.

Pesto just may be the perfect condiment. By definition, it’s an uncooked sauce made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. We’ve never met a definition that couldn’t stand a little stretching, so here’s a roundup of some our favorite flavor variations.

Sun-Dried Tomato

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 4 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place in the bowl of a food processor: garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and pepper. Process until smooth. Try on grilled chicken or steak.

Spinach-Walnut

  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¹⁄³ cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • ¹⁄³ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt

Place in the bowl of a food processor: basil, garlic, walnuts, spinach, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt. Process until smooth. Try on corn on the cob, crackers or fish.

Parsley-Mint

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup toasted almonds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt

Place in the bowl of a food processor: parsley, mint, olive oil, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Process until smooth. Try on grilled eggplant, chicken and veggie kebabs or basmati rice.

Cilantro-Pumpkin Seed

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (often found in the produce aisle)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp salt

Place in the bowl of a food processor: cilantro, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, garlic, lime juice and salt. Process until smooth. Try on steak and pepper fajitas, or burgers.