It’s Pesto Time

Five Weeknight Dishes

Hi and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes, food for busy people who still want something good to eat — like pesto, which now that I think of it may be the best thing you can eat. I made a very large batch on Monday to toss with spaghetti, using up mint and parsley that was languishing in my fridge, and adding lots of fresh basil, Parm and pine nuts to round out the sauce. But I’ll pesto anything. I’ll use mint and pistachios, arugula and almonds, walnuts and whatever. I once even used scallions greens in the mix (don’t do that).

Pesto freezes brilliantly — do individual dinner-size portions, for targeted defrosting — and goes well not just with pasta, but with beans, potatoes, chicken and seafood. It also loves toast, tomatoes, eggs and fresh mozzarella. It is a miracle sauce, and one I hope you embrace.

Ideas, quandaries, hopes, dreams? I’m, and I love to hear from you.

[Sign up here to receive the Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter in your inbox every Friday.]

Here are five dishes for the week:

CreditJessica Emily Marx for The New York Times

1. Basic Pesto Sauce

This recipe, by Samin Nosrat, is both precise and delicious, a little treasure map leading you to the X of perfect pesto. There’s a variation at the bottom for mint-pistachio pesto. Or you could try this pecan pesto, from the noted chef Mashama Bailey. Or arugula pesto. Or asparagus pesto. Toss with pasta; steamed or sautéed green beans would be nice on the side and have a similar level of easy-breezy prep.

View this recipe in your weekly plan.


CreditMichael Graydon & Nikole Herriott for The New York Times. Prop Stylist: Kalen Kaminski.

2. New Shrimp Louie (Poached Shrimp Salad)

This glorious recipe is our latest from Alison Roman, who is profiled in the new issue of Elle magazine making this same dish for the writer. If you either can’t find shell-on shrimp to poach, or would prefer not to deal with shells, then it’s fine to roast pre-peeled and deveined shrimp. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper, then spread in a single layer on a sheet pan and cook at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes until they are just barely opaque. It’s not exactly the same thing, but I think we can agree it’s close enough and will still be so good.

View this recipe in your weekly plan.


CreditCon Poulos for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

3. Cheesy Cauliflower Toasts

This toast — really an open-faced, veg-laden grilled cheese — is adapted from an Ina Garten recipe, so you know it’s delicious. If you want to cut down on weeknight cook time, roast the cauliflower ahead. Then, when you’re ready, combine it with the cheese and proceed. Serve with a big, filling salad, with avocado and nuts tossed in, to make it dinner.

Sheet Pan Chicken FajitasCreditJulia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Christine Albano.

4. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas are way more fun than a weeknight dinner can reasonably hope to be, and this is a clever, low-mess way to do them. Vegetarians could try substituting chickpeas for the chicken (an idea from Lex Weibel, one of our great editors here), or just roast the sheet pan of vegetables with cumin and smoked paprika and serve with black beans.

View this recipe in your weekly plan.


Charred asparagus with green garlic chimichurri, feta and olives.CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times

5. Charred Asparagus With Green Garlic Chimichurri

Heaven this time of year, and pretty fast to pull together, too. You just grill or broil asparagus, make a simple chimichurri sauce with green garlic (or two or three regular garlic cloves), parsley and oregano, and top with feta and olives. I’d eat this for dinner over a bowl of farro, but it could easily be a side dish for very simple grilled or roasted fish.

View this recipe in your weekly plan.

Do you love excellent recipes and helpful cooking tips? I think you’d really like being a subscriber to NYT Cooking. You can follow me on Instagram, and follow NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Previous newsletters are archived here. I’m, and if you have any problems with your account, email Have a great long weekend. I’ll see you here next Friday.

Need more info about the Publisher?

This article was generated with the help of our AI and we are simply sharing the news. Click here to find out more information about this article & its publisher. CreateAI takes no responsibility for the accuracy or use of any or all of this content.

Marketing Automation that works and takes 5 minutes to setup.

Automated Content Marketing!
Social Media Marketing & SEO