Pasta in Pesto Sauce Recipe. All Variations

adapted from Levana Cooks, using Garden Vegetable Levana Nourishments

pesto sauce

Pesto Sauce is one of the most versatile pasta sauces I know.

The perennial Pesto sauce favorite is based on basil, olive oil, and toasted walnuts; but we have seen it recast with a different herb or nut, and tasting just as delicious and interesting. Use it not only as a pasta sauce but as topping for cooked chicken or fish, or a dip. I find that toasting the nuts intensifies the pesto’s flavor, so don’t skip that step!

Did you know you can make pesto sauce with many other herbs than basil?

Scroll down, you’ll see!

And did you know you can make it vegan?


It keeps really well, so don’t divide the recipe. Besides, I doubt it will last you long enough to go bad. A slather on a fantastic piece of sourdough toast and you will watch it go down fast!


  • 2 cups basil leaves, packed
  • 2 pouches Levana Nourishments Garden Vegetable
  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • 1∕3 cup toasted walnuts (about 15 minutes in a preheated 300 °F oven)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • I pound of your favorite pasta, including Gluten-Free Pasta, cooked according to the manufacturer's instructions, 1/2 cup of the cooking water reserved.
  • 1/2 cup- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, optional


Process all pesto ingredients in a food processor until smooth but still a little chunky, not a complete paste. Toss with the pasta and reserved cooking water, and add the parmesan, if desired.
Makes about 2 cups pesto sauce. If using later, store refrigerated in a glass jar.


In the same proportions:

  •  Substitute parsley, cilantro, mint, spinach, arugala, kale and watercress for the basil (I loved the watercress-arugala combo)
  •  Substitute pecans, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios for the walnuts. And if you can't have nuts, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
  • Add some freshly grated Parmesan. In this case, omit the salt.
  • Dairy-free: Some really nice vegan cheese out there. Or use nutritional yeast
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