Photo: Sang An

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.
hummus soup with pesto

Photo: Victoria Pearson

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.

Photo: Travis Rathbone

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.

Photo: Thinkstock

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).

Photo: Marcus Nisson

Call It Cocktail Sauce
Shellfish's affinity for herbs is well known, from Proven├žal 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.

Photo: Paul Sirisalee

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.

Photo: Wiktory/iStock/Thinkstock

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.