A collection of 65 unique and colorful homemade pesto recipes featuring different vegetables and herbs! These healthy veggie pesto pasta recipes will delight your family at dinner time.
Well this is a subject so close to my heart, because making easy homemade pasta dinners is kiiiiind of my obsession. And homemade pesto, with it’s herby, nutty, lemony vibes, is one of my faves. EVER.
And pesto is a template that you can so easily adapt and have fun with, boosting the nutritional content while you’re at it, by adding different herbs, nuts, cheese and veggies. You can have pesto in pretty much all the colors.
(But not blue. Sorry! I tried.)
How to Make Classic Pesto
The ingredients for a classic pesto are Basil + Pine Nuts + Lemon Juice + Parmesan Cheese + Olive Oil. Just throw them into a mini food processor and pulse. That’s it. Your classic pesto sauce is ready!
What Equipment do you need to Make Pesto?
- I recommend an inexpensive mini food processor like the Magimix Le Micro (UK) or KitchenAid Mini (US).
- You could go old school and use a pestle and mortar. But you’re probably not going to do that.
- If you only have a larger food processor, just make sure you’re making a large enough batch for it to blend properly. Vegetable pestos work well here because they can be extra bulky.
How to Make Legit Vegetarian Pesto
No, there is no meat in pesto, so you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a default vegetarian ingredient. However, genuine parmesan cheese does contain animal rennet (this is an ingredient made from the stomach lining of cows) and therefore is not classified as a vegetarian friendly ingredient.
In fact, animal rennet has to be used or the cheese can not be labelled as parmesan (the name is protected and can only be used when various guidelines are adhered to including the use of cow rennet).
The good new is that vegetarian friendly alternatives are widely available and might go by the names “Pasta cheese”, “Vegetarian hard cheese”, etc. Another reason that homemade pesto is the best.
… And how to Make Vegan Pesto
Vegan pesto won’t contain any cheese, but nutritional yeast flakes are a great substitution.
Now let’s add a twist…
Pesto is incredibly versatile (if you’re not overly concerned with authenticity) and this classic format has been adapted time and time again to change up the nuts, herbs, and cheese. My favorite thing to do is add vegetables to pesto, transforming the texture of the sauce, making it healthier, and bulking it out to make or a more substantial bowl of pasta. Below I have compiled the ultimate list of veggie pesto recipes – homemade pesto in every color!
How to Make Green Pesto
Many of the best twists on pesto keep the end result green! Adding in avocado for a creamy texture, using spinach or kale alongside the basil for a barely detectable nutritional upgrade, changing the flavor with arugula, wild garlic or chives, or making a big chunky pesto full of green vegetables. You can also try different nuts in your basil pesto for subtle flavor differences (and usually cost savings – pine nuts are expensive!)
Green Pestos with Added Fruits & Vegetables
- Kale & Avocado Pesto
- Kale Arugula Radicchio Pesto by Veggies Don’t Bite
- Artichoke Pesto by Cadry’s Kitchen
- Spinach & Artichoke Pesto by Veggie Inspired
- Spinach Mint Pesto by Tasting Page
- Spinach Ricotta Pesto by As Easy As Apple Pie
- Cavolo Nero Pesto by Delicious From Scratch
- Carrot Top Pesto on Fuss Free Flavours
- Beet Green Pesto by Killing Thyme
- Radish Green Pesto by Caroline’s Cooking
- Avocado Pesto
- Pea Pesto with Pistachio & Arugula by Peas and Crayons
- Broad Bean (Fava Bean) Pesto
- Edamame Pesto by Rhian’s Recipes
- Broccoli Stem Pesto – Pictured
- Peperoncini Pesto on The Belly Rules the Mind
- Summer Zucchini Pesto by Vegan Huggs
- Asparagus Pesto by The Schizo Chef
- Green Olive Pesto by Rhubarbarians
- Cranberry Pesto by Cook with Kushi
- Coconut Pesto by Recipes From a Pantry
Green Pestos with a Twist on Herbs and/or Nuts
- Chive Pesto
- Watercress Pesto
- Arugula Pesto by An Italian in My Kitchen
- Arugula (Rocket) Pesto with Pistachios & Lemon by Panning the Globe
- Oregano Pesto by Healthy Slow Cooking
- Cilantro Lime Pesto by Whitney Bond
- Cilantro Pesto with Chickpeas by Dinner Mom
- Wild Nettle Pesto by Forest and Fauna
- Walnut Pesto by Chef Sous Chef
- Walnut Pesto with Seven Herbs by Spinach Tiger
- Sunflower Seed Pesto by The Pretty Bee
- Hemp Seed Pesto by Blissful Basil
- Pistachio Lemon Pesto by The Whole Cook
- Split Pea Pesto by Running to the Kitchen
Green Pestos with a Twist on the Cheese
- Blue Cheese, Spinach & Walnut Pesto by Castello
- Cheddar Walnut Pesto by Cabot Cheese
- Gruyere Pesto by John Whaite
- Basil & Goat Cheese Pesto by Stuck on Sweet
Green Pestos with a Twist on the Garlic
How to Make Red Pesto
Red pesto often utilizes roasted red peppers and/or sundried tomatoes, for an added sweetness and umami kick.
- Rose Petal & Roasted Tomato Pesto – Pictured – by Recipes From a Pantry
- Pesto Rosso Sauce by Festibrate
- Sundried Tomato & Mint Pesto
- Sundried Tomato & Avocado Pesto by Blissful Basil
- Roasted “Sundried” Tomato Pesto by Life Currents
- Sundried Tomato & Pistachio Pesto by What a Girl Eats
- Sundried Tomato, Miso & Basil Pesto by Vegetarian Gastronomy
- Roasted Red Pepper Pesto by Table for Two
- Red Pepper & Brie Pesto
- Red Swiss Chard Pesto by Cooking on the Weekends
- Scarlet Pesto with Red Pepper & Feta by Kopiaste
How to Make Pink Pesto
It’s all about the beets here! Beet pesto has a beautiful bright hue that is sure to charm anyone you serve it to. Also, adding lots of creaminess to a red pesto leaves you with a beautiful light pink color. Who could resist a plate of gorgeous pink pasta?
- Beet and Pumpkin Seed Pesto – Pictured – by Moon and Spoon and Yum
- Roasted Beet and Walnut Pesto by The Roasted Root
- Creamy Red Sicilian Pesto with Ricotta & Walnuts by Happy Kitchen Rocks
- Roasted Cauliflower Pesto with Smoked Paprika
How to Make Yellow Pesto
Yellow vegetables such as corn, peppers and squash will lend a yellow hue to your pesto!
- Corn Pesto – Pictured – by Bunsen Burner Bakery
- Roasted Yellow Pepper Pesto by Fine Cooking
- Vegan Squash Pesto on AllRecipes
- Charred Cauliflower and Hazelnut Pesto by Pinch and Swirl
- Lemon Caper Pesto by Cooking on the Weekends
How to Make Purple Pesto
Red cabbage (which is, in fact, decidedly purple in color) has been pesto’d by many a chef and blogger. Crunchy cabbage will lend a hearty texture and a good amount of bulk to your pesto, not to mention all those nutrients. Red basil is another simple way to bring the color purple to your pesto!
- Red Cabbage & Gorgonzola Pesto – Pictured – by Italicana Kitchen
- Roasted Red Cabbage Pesto by Recipes From a Pantry
- Purple Basil Pesto by Almond to Zest
Ideas for What to do with Pesto
Well, mixing it into pasta is the obvious choice here but if you have some leftover or just feel like something different, here are some other ideas.
- Make a salad dressing
- Use it in a potato salad
- Use it as a pizza base, the base or topping for a puff pastry tart
- Mix with roasted veggies
- Mix into plain rice or mashed potatoes