If you’re looking for a kitchen utility player that might open the floodgates to green eating, look no further. Pesto is perfect and it goes way beyond pasta. Pesto converts “take out the green stuff” people into green-eating machines—on the daily. Why? Because it’s absurdly delicious, that’s why!

Make it vegan, make it extra lemony, crank up the garlic, hide some spinach up in there, up the protein and anti-inflammatory properties with walnuts. It’s amazing what you can do with a blender and a dream.

Super Easy Pesto Recipe

Measure about 1 cup mixed parsley, basil, and/or arugula (basil is traditional) and about ½ cup of pine nuts (or other nuts). Put in blender with 1 tsp. sea salt, ¼ cup parmesan, 4 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 to 3 minced clove(s) garlic (how much raw garlic one prefers is highly variable).

Here’s some easy ways you can change it up:

  • Leave out the cheese and add lemon juice (2-3 lemons).
  • Add pepper!
  • Use walnuts or cashews or almonds for a slightly different flavor profile.
  • Add some spinach leaves or other vegetables—what happens in the blender stays in the blender.
  • Use a mortar and pestle instead of a blender if you’re feeling fancy.

Once you’re done tinkering with the recipe, it’s time to talk about the ways you can serve that secret sauce. Here we go:

Imagine the Pasta-bilities

It’s tried and true, so there’s no reason to knock it. Extra points for fun-shaped pasta, but you knew that.

Panini Perfection

Regardless of what you put between the bread—turkey, tofu, cheese—it’s going to taste a lot better. Hot or cold, trust us.

Omelette Accelerator

Looks gorgeous, tastes amazing. From bland to bam!

Vigorous Veggies

Put a big spoonful of pesto in a pan. Chop up some veggies into small pieces. The more surface area, the better. Cook them up. All of a sudden, they’re asking for vegetable seconds? Data point!

Better Broth

You probably didn’t realize this, but your homemade flavor-packed pesto can be a tasty cooking broth too. Just add water! Literally. Just. Add. Water. Then use it as you normally would to cook your couscous (or riced cauliflower if you’re gonna be that way about carbs). Try some fresh peas, sliced cherry tomatoes and some lightly crumbled feta on top if you want to show off a little. Or just give the people what you know they’ll eat.

And here’s the thing about pesto, moms and dads: it’s a gateway green. Who knows what they’ll be willing to try next. We see your zucchini and we raise you a Brussels sprout.