7 Creative Things to Do with Pesto
Take a break from pasta with these inventive uses for the herb-based sauce.
Bolster Bruschetta (or Any Appetizer)
Pesto plus carbs is a winning formula—as anyone who's enjoyed a bowl of spaghetti slicked with the herbaceous sauce and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan knows. So, it makes sense that pesto smeared onto slices of toasted baguette would easily be one of the simplest, tastiest appetizers going. That's just a starting point, though; try brushing the bread with olive oil first
for a little extra flavor; add cooked vegetables and cheese
; or, trick out avocado toast
Spoon It into Soup
The French soupe au pistou is a bit like minestrone. It's made with vegetables and beans, but also has a healthy swirl of pesto stirred in just before serving. You can steal this trick, which adds a bright and herby kick, with many other soups, such as this chickpea puree
or even a basic chicken noodle or tortellini soup.
Boost Your Burger
Switch out the usual condiments and spread a dollop of pesto onto your burger; even just a small amount of the garlicky sauce will bring a new dimension to the cookout classic. Pork burgers
take particularly well to pesto, since the meat is lighter and more mild-tasting than beef; it's also great on turkey patties.
Pair It with Potatoes
There are more ways to match potatoes with pesto than we can count—but the most basic is to simply boil potatoes, cut them into bite-size chunks and toss them with the green sauce. Variations abound, such as combining pesto with thinly sliced spuds and them baking them, au-gratin style
, or just spooning some of the basil-y goodness into a regular baked potato (diced pancetta, cooked until crisp, is optional but highly recommended).
Call It Cocktail Sauce
Shellfish's affinity for herbs is well known, from Provençal Mussels
to dover sole
. Try serving cooked shrimp with pesto
as a dipping sauce; you'll be blown away by how delicious the herbs taste with the light and fresh seafood, adding depth without overpowering.
Get Your Grains Dressed
Grain- and seed-based bowls, whether made with farro, bulgur, quinoa or any other carb du jour can make delicious vegetarian lunches or dinners
. Take them in a new direction by swapping in pesto for the salad dressing, such as in this recipe
, which uses a kale-parsley-basil pesto as the anchor for a vibrant mix of bulgur, tomatoes and green beans.
Add Zip to Zucchini
Spiralized veggie noodles are a nutritious alternative to traditional pasta—but some sauces work better with them than others. When it comes to zucchini "spaghetti," pesto is a winning accompaniment; it's got more garlicky zest than traditional tomato sauce. Bonus: Pesto zucchini spaghetti
tastes great warm or cold.