Yesterday, I posted our favorite pesto recipe. My kids would eat this every other day (on rotation with tacos, spaghetti, and ravioli) if they had their way. And if I had endless supplies of basil.

I realized early this morning that I neglected to share some variations on the pesto theme.

When I have them, and I remember, and have time, I toast pine nuts and add them to the pesto. They make it heartier and add depth to the flavor.

Toasted Pine Nuts
Place a skillet on the stove, and turn the temperature to medium-low. When warm, add 1/2 cup pine nuts.

Stir them every minute or so, making sure all sides get toasted. It takes a few minutes for you to see the browning start. Do not get in a hurry and turn up the heat. Especially do not walk away from the pan. Not that I’ve ever done that or scorched an entire batch.

Once they are toasted, pour them out of the pan and onto a small plate to cool.

Once cool, they are ready to add to your pesto. Chop them first, before adding the basil.

You can also make sundried tomato pesto by adding one or two sundried tomatoes to the pesto with the basil. I recommend cutting them into smaller pieces so the processor handles them better.

In the spring, before the basil is ready, you can use spinach leaves instead of basil to make sneaky mom pesto. This will have a milder flavor, but plenty of vitamins and minerals and is a great way to sneak some dark green leafy vegetables past your children.