Recipe: Pesto Egg Salad

naturally dyed easter eggs

Pesto Egg Salad – herbaceous and garlicky – found its way to our kitchen table this weekend after my son and I took the time to boil and dye pasture-raised eggs for Easter.  We customarily receive two dozen eggs from our CSA, but those never seem to last the week and, sure enough, once Sunday arrived I looked in our egg basket only to find one pitifully lonesome egg remaining from last week’s CSA pick-up.

We hopped on the bus and headed down to the local health food store.  Though most of the eggs that arrive in our CSA are brown, I’d hoped to pick up white eggs, knowing they’d absorb color more easily. It’s been a long time since we purchased eggs from the store, and I was pleasantly surprised to find only local, farm-fresh eggs available at the tiny store. We purchased a dozen, already colorful in speckled browns, brilliant white and faint grey-green.

We arrived home and prepared our dye.  Combining spices, vegetables, water and vinegar in assorted pots on every burner on the stove.  Turmeric would yield a lovely gold.  Chili powder would yield a beautiful rusted orange.  Beets turned some eggs a pale pink.  Purple cabbage, I’d heard, would make for a beautiful and brilliant blue – but my ancient cabbage gave no color at all. 

Once the eggs were boiled, dyed, cooled, hidden and found, I painstakingly peeled them (gentle cracking, followed by a good soak in cold water usually does the trick) before chopping them up, combining them with fresh herbs, garlic, shallots and scallions for this vibrantly and uniquely flavored egg salad – a perfect way to use up Easter eggs before they go bad.

Pasture-raised eggs – that is, eggs from hens with free-access to sunshine, the outdoors, fresh greens, bugs and grubs – yield a more nutrient-dense yolk.  Pasture-raised eggs are richer in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and other nutrients than their conventionally raised counterparts.  While more expensive – usually ranging from $4 to $6 per dozen – the improved flavor and nutrient profile are well worth the added cost.  Pesto egg salad also makes use of the unorthodox additions of fresh basil and fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley.  Two potently flavored herbs with high antioxidant and vitamin K1 contents.

pesto egg salad

pesto egg salad

By Jenny Published: April 4, 2010

  • Yield: About four Servings
  • Prep: 5 mins

Perfect for using up Easter eggs, pesto egg salad offers a unique fresh and herbaceous alternative to classic egg salad. The vibrant, clean flavors of basil and flat-leaf parsley offer a charming twist on a classic dish.


  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (minced)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic, (minced)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 2 scallions (white and light green parts, minced)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (preferably homemade)
  • unrefined sea salt (to taste)
  • paprika and Bibb lettuce (to serve)


  1. Combine chopped eggs, herbs, garlic, shallot, scallions together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Fold homemade mayonnaise into the mixture of eggs and herbs until they’re well-coated.
  3. Season gently to taste with unrefined sea salt.
  4. Serve over lettuce, seasoned with paprika.

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What people are saying

  1. says

    That sounds really good; sadly, we don’t have enough leftover boiled eggs to try it. Hopefully I can try it soon.

    We used pretty old red cabbage, and I got a blue dye, but not bright blue. I was able to dye a brown egg maroon by leaving it in the blue for a very long time and then moving it into red, and I dyed a white egg blue. I do know if you leave them overnight it works better.

  2. says

    Those eggs are absolutely gorgeous! I love that you used natural dyes to produce such lovely colors. I would like to try this even now, although Easter is over. I think my granddaughters would love to try this any time at all. And your egg salad sounds so delicious I want some now! Thanks for this wonderful tutorial. I appreciate what you do.

  3. Lisa P. says

    For years, my family has been using onion skins for beautifully patterned eggs every Easter. Use the outer-most skins, the golden part of the onion, and wrap raw eggs with onion skins pieces and rubber bands. We also use long strips of rag fabric to wrap more surface area with a couple of rubber bands. Boil as you would when making hard-boiled eggs. Every pattern is different, as is every hue. There are browns, siennas, yellows. It’s always a surprise. Red onions impart a dusky bluish pattern, not quite as vibrant as the yellow onions.

  4. says

    This recipe looks delicious…and I love how you dyed your eggs! My little monkey was too little this year to appreciate the egg decorating tradition, but I will definitely keep these ideas in mind next year when it comes time for him to join the fun!

    • Patty Mikhail says

      Your eggs look beatiful! A friend of mine showed me some lovely deep puple eggs she had colored by soaking red onion peels overnight (after a 10 min boil) and then using the water to color her eggs.
      I’m not into the egg coloring thing, but I’m going to cook up some eggs just to try that salad. Thanks for sharing!

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