We all know pesto is delicious in pasta, but there are dozens of other delicious ways to use pesto other than pasta. In today’s post find out my top 5 ways to use pesto other than pasta along with my super simple pesto recipe.
As the lazy days of summer come to a close, I have been harvesting my bounty of basil and making homemade pesto. We like to make batches of pesto to freeze before winter rolls around, but what the heck to do with all that pesto??
We have started thinking outside the box and use it for more than just pasta. Today I’m sharing my top 5 ways to use pesto other than pasta for delicious clean meals along with my 5-minute homemade pesto recipe. These recipes will save your sanity on busy weeknights.
Top 5 Ways To Use Pesto Other Than Pasta
1. Sauce for Seafood and Meat
Pesto tastes amazing on fish, shrimp, scallops, and your favorite meat.
Pesto Salmon – Place fillets in cast iron skillet or on a lined sheet pan. Spread about 2 tablespoons of pesto over each fillet. Bake the salmon at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. YUMMY!
2. All Things Tomato
Pesto is the perfect complement to tomatoes. We love to add it to bruschetta, Caprese salad, and roasted tomatoes.
Pesto Parmesan Roasted Tomatoes – Cut tomatoes in half and place on a lined sheet pan. Drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove tomatoes from the oven and spread with a spoon of basil. Add a little Parmesan cheese and return to oven. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes.
3. Roasted Veggies
Roasted veggies are delicious with pesto. Just toss your veggies with 3-4 tablespoons of pesto halfway through baking.
Pesto Roasted Potatoes – Toss 2 pounds of quartered red potatoes with 2 tablespoons of avocado oil or olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Roast potatoes at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from oven and toss with 3 tablespoons of pesto. Be sure to mix thoroughly. Roast potatoes for an additional 20 minutes. Mix potatoes with an additional tablespoon of pesto and serve. *The larger the potatoes the longer they will need to cook.
4. Top Pizza
Use pesto in place of red sauce on homemade pizza. One of our favorite weeknight meals is mini pizzas using whole wheat pita bread.
Pesto Pita Pizza – Place pita on a baking sheet and spread 1-2 tablespoons of pesto evenly over pita. Add your favorite toppings and bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and the pizza is heated through. I topped my pizza with sauteed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, red onion, and blue cheese. DELISH!
Spruce up your sandwiches, wraps, burgers, and paninis by replacing your typical spreads with pesto.
Chicken Pesto Panini -I used leftover chicken, roasted red peppers, and gouda cheese to create these amazing pesto paninis for lunch a few days ago. My son sent a pic to his friends and one of them went out and bought a panini press that day! 🙂
Spread whole-grain bread with pesto, add sliced cooked chicken, roasted red peppers, and top with gouda cheese. Cook in a panini press until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. If you do not have a panini press, you can cook the sandwich in a skillet over medium-high heat just as you would a grilled cheese.
This pesto recipe uses classic pesto ingredients. You could sub walnuts or just about any nut for the pine nuts. You could also use cilantro, spinach, parsley, or arugula in place of the basil. My friend uses asparagus and it is delicious. I know! I know! Making these subs doesn’t qualify it to be authentic pesto. 😉
There is an enormous amount of basil growing in my back and I just bought a huge bag of pine nuts from Costco. I am going to make several batches for the freezer.
I like to freeze my pesto in ice cube trays and then transfer to a glass container or freezer bag. It makes it easy to pop out as little or as much as you need. It also defrosts quicker that way.
If freezing in a mason jar or storing in the fridge, be sure to add a layer of olive oil to the top. This will help to keep the pesto from turning brown.
Fresh Basil Pesto
- 2 cups packed fresh basil, stemmed
- 3 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil I like to make my sauce a little thicker if I'm not using it for pasta.
- salt to taste
Pulse basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese in a food processor until coarsley chopped. Scrape down sides.
Continue to pulse while drizzling in olive oil. This will help to emulsify and keep the olive oil from separating. Pulse until fully incorporating. Season with salt to taste.
We recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible.
What’s your favorite way to use pesto? Which of these ideas will you be trying?