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44 Easy Recipes Using Pesto: From Classic To Creative!

Pesto sauce is a culinary treasure that can instantly add depth and flavor to a wide range of dishes. With its radiant green color and unmistakable basil aroma, it’s a versatile ingredient that can be used in countless creative ways. Whether you’re looking to use up the last bits from a jar or experiment with new recipes, pesto is an ideal addition to any meal. In this post, we’ll explore 44 easy and inspiring ideas for using pesto in everything from classic pasta dishes to gourmet sandwiches, salads, meats, and dips. Get ready to discover the many faces of this beloved Mediterranean sauce!

44 Easy Recipes Using Pesto

Pesto Pasta Salad

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To prepare the pasta salad, start by cooking the fusilli according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain and allow it to cool completely. Next, combine the cooled pasta with a medley of colorful ingredients – including halved cherry tomatoes, pitted olives, diced bell peppers, and chopped fresh basil leaves. To tie everything together, add a rich and herby pesto sauce in generous quantities. Finally, give the mixture a good stir to ensure all flavors are well combined, and serve the chilled pasta salad.

Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

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To add an extra layer of flavor to your baked chicken breasts, begin by cutting a pocket on the thickest part of each breast. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper before filling the pocket with a mixture of cream cheese, pesto sauce, and minced garlic. The cream cheese will help keep the chicken moist, while the pesto adds an intense herb flavor and the garlic provides a punch of savory goodness. Place the stuffed breasts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Pesto Tuna Melt

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To create this delectable appetizer or snack, begin by toasting a slice of Italian bread until it’s crispy. Next, spread a generous amount of pesto sauce over the toast, making sure to cover the entire surface. On top of the pesto, add a layer of canned tuna, followed by sliced tomatoes for a pop of freshness and flavor. Finally, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the ingredients, ensuring every bite will be a cheesy delight. To take it to the next level, place the toast under the broiler until the cheese is melted and bubbly, adding a satisfying crunch to each morsel.

Pesto Potato Salad

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To prepare the potato salad, start by boiling red skin potatoes until they’re tender. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and cube them into bite-sized pieces. Next, add a mix of chopped celery, green onions, mayonnaise, mustard, and pesto sauce to the potatoes. Toss everything together until well combined, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Pesto Grilled Cheese

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To craft a mouthwatering bruschetta, start by buttering two slices of bread. Next, apply a generous layer of pesto sauce to one slice, taking care not to overpower the other flavors. Then, add sliced mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato, and fragrant basil leaves on top of the pesto. Finally, place the slices under the grill until the bread is crispy and golden, and the cheese is melted to perfection.

Pesto Meatballs

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Combine ground beef or turkey with a medley of ingredients including breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, finely chopped onions, salt, and a spoonful of pesto sauce. Form the mixture into balls and shape them neatly.
Next, sear the meatballs in a skillet with a drizzle of oil until they’re nicely browned on all sides. Once caramelized, add a rich tomato sauce to the pan and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Pesto Tortellini Soup

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Begin by cooking aromatics like sautéed onions, carrots, and celery in a pot with some liquid – be it chicken or vegetable broth, or even pesto sauce for added flavor. As the mixture reaches a boil, add cheese tortellini to the pot and let them cook until they’re tender and perfectly al dente. Finally, serve the dish hot, garnished with crunchy croutons to add some satisfying texture to each bite.

Pesto-Crusted Salmon

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To create a deliciously flavorful salmon dish, start by combining pesto sauce with breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, and olive oil in a single bowl. Next, coat fresh salmon fillets evenly with this savory mixture, making sure each piece is fully coated. Then, transfer the salmon to the oven and bake at 400°F for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until it reaches the perfect flaky and golden texture.

Pesto Pizza

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To create a delicious pizza, start by spreading a layer of pesto sauce onto a pre-made pizza crust. Next, add your choice of toppings, such as sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, cooked chicken, and mozzarella cheese. For the best results, bake your pizza at 425°F for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and crispy, with a layer of melted and bubbly cheese.

Pesto Cheesy Bread

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To elevate this classic appetizer, start by carefully slicing a crusty baguette into thin pieces. Next, spread a generous amount of creamy pesto sauce evenly across each slice, making sure to cover the entire surface. Then, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the pesto, followed by a sprinkle of chopped sun-dried tomatoes for added texture and flavor. Finally, place the topped baguette slices under the broiler until the cheese is melted and golden brown, with a hint of caramelized crust forming at the edges.

Pesto Risotto with Toasted Pine Nuts

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In the realm of culinary bliss, few dishes rival the harmonious union of pesto risotto and toasted pine nuts. The pungent, herbaceous essence of pesto beautifully balances the rich, tender Arborio rice, its firm yet yielding texture providing a delightful base for the dish. Meanwhile, the golden-brown pine nuts bring a satisfying crunch, their nutty flavor subtly enhancing the overall aroma and mouthfeel.

Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad

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Combine the freshness of romaine lettuce, the sweetness of cherry tomatoes, the crunch of croutons, and the richness of Parmesan cheese in a harmonious union. To elevate this culinary masterpiece, whisk together Caesar dressing and pesto sauce to create a tangy and savory blend. Finally, finish with a flourish by sprinkling black pepper and squeezing a sliver of lemon juice over the top for a burst of citrus flavor.

Pesto Turkey Burgers

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To create a flavorful and nutritious burger, combine ground turkey with the savory flavors of pesto sauce, pungent minced garlic, and crunchy diced red bell pepper. Form the mixture into patties that can be grilled to perfection or pan-seared until cooked through. Once ready, place the juicy burgers on toasted brioche buns and top with crisp lettuce and a dollop of creamy mayo for a satisfying meal.

Pesto Roasted Potatoes

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To prepare the baby potatoes, start by cutting them in half or quartering them depending on their size. Next, toss them in a mixture of olive oil and pesto sauce to coat them evenly. Then, spread the potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them in a preheated oven at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and crispy on the outside.

Pesto Hummus

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Combine the ingredients of chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and pesto sauce in a food processor, blending them into a silky-smooth consistency. This delicious concoction can be served as a tasty dip to accompany pita bread or a medley of crunchy vegetables.

Pesto Shrimp Linguine

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To create a mouthwatering seafood dish, start by cooking the shrimp in a flavorful mixture of garlic, olive oil, and perhaps some sautéed onions or bell peppers. Once the shrimp is cooked to perfection, add in cooked linguine pasta and a generous helping of pesto sauce. Toss everything together until the pasta is well coated with the rich flavors. Finally, finish off the dish by garnishing it with fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of lemon zest for added brightness and depth.

Pesto Grilled Pork Chops

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For a tender and flavorful result, start by marinating bone-in pork chops in a mixture of rich pesto sauce and tangy lemon juice. Allow the meat to soak up the flavors for at least one hour before firing up the grill. Once it’s nice and hot, throw on the pork chops and cook for 8-10 minutes per side, or until they’re nicely charred and juicy on the inside.

Pesto Deviled Eggs

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Transform halved hard-boiled eggs by carefully separating the yolks from the whites. Next, take the yolks and combine them with a flavorful medley of ingredients including pesto sauce, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and a pinch of paprika. Once you’ve achieved the perfect blend, spoon the mixture back into the egg whites, finishing off the dish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley to add a pop of freshness.

Pesto Flatbread Pizza

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To elevate a simple store-bought flatbread, start by spreading a layer of pesto sauce across its surface. Next, add a colorful medley of ingredients, including grilled zucchini, thinly sliced red onion, crumbled feta cheese, and pitted Kalamata olives that have been chopped into bite-sized pieces. Finish the dish off with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for 10-12 minutes, or until the flavors have melded together and the crust is crispy.

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

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To create this delectable dish, start by preparing the mushrooms by removing their stems and gills. Next, combine cream cheese, pesto sauce, and grated Parmesan cheese to form a rich and flavorful filling. Then, fill each mushroom cap with the mixture, taking care not to overstuff them. Finally, bake the stuffed mushrooms in a preheated oven at 375°F for 10-15 minutes or until they’re golden brown and bubbly.

Pesto Caesar Wrap

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To create an elevated wrap, start by spreading a generous layer of creamy pesto sauce onto a large whole-wheat tortilla. Next, add a handful of fresh chopped romaine lettuce for a burst of crisp texture. Drizzle with a rich and tangy Caesar dressing to bring everything together. Then, add sliced grilled chicken for a protein-packed punch. Finally, sprinkle shaved Parmesan cheese over the top for a salty and satisfying finish. Wrap tightly, slice in half if desired, and get ready to enjoy your flavorful and nutritious wrap!

Pesto Grilled Veggies

Transform the flavors of your vegetables by preparing them in a way that will make everyone at the table swoon! Simply slice zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and red onions into wedges, just like you would with a favorite snack. Next, give these veggies a flavorful boost by brushing them with pesto sauce – it’s the perfect addition to bring out their natural sweetness. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper to round out the flavors. Finally, throw your veggie skewers onto the grill until they’re tender and slightly charred, with just the right amount of smoky goodness.

Pesto Stuffed Bell Peppers

Transform bell peppers into flavorful stuffed peppers by combining cooked quinoa, the vibrant flavors of pesto sauce, the savory richness of black beans, the natural sweetness of corn, and the creaminess of shredded cheese. This harmonious blend should be baked until the bell peppers are tender to the touch and the filling is heated through, ensuring a delightful and satisfying culinary experience.

Pesto Gnocchi

Transform your cooked gnocchi into a delectable and effortless pasta meal by tossing it with a rich pesto sauce, sizzling cherry tomatoes that have been sautéed to perfection, and fragrant fresh basil leaves. This harmonious blend of flavors and textures is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Pesto Breakfast Scramble

Start your day off right by whipping up a morning masterpiece. Combine scrambled eggs with a generous dollop of fragrant pesto and some chopped, sun-kissed sun-dried tomatoes. The result is a breakfast that’s as vibrant as it is delicious, packed with the perfect balance of creamy richness and savory zest.

Pesto Caprese Sandwich

To craft this delectable Italian-inspired snack, start by layering slices of creamy fresh mozzarella cheese atop a crusty baguette, followed by juicy tomato pieces and fragrant basil leaves. Next, spread a generous amount of pesto sauce on one side of the bread, allowing its rich herby flavor to meld with the other ingredients. Finally, drizzle a small amount of balsamic glaze across the top, adding a tangy depth to the dish.

Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

To elevate the flavor and texture of your mushroom dish, start by filling the caps with a harmonious blend of cream cheese, pesto, and grated Parmesan cheese. This rich and savory mixture will not only add depth to the mushrooms but also create a satisfyingly creamy and bubbly filling when baked until tender.

Pesto Spinach and Artichoke Dip

To create this delectable dip, start by combining a rich blend of cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded mozzarella. Next, add some freshness to the mix with a handful of spinach leaves and the savory taste of artichoke hearts. Finally, stir in a spoonful of pesto sauce to bring all the flavors together. Once you’ve got your dip mixed up, pop it into the oven until it’s hot, bubbly, and ready to devour. Serve it up with some crunchy tortilla chips or slices of crusty bread for a snack that’s sure to please.

Pesto Zoodles

Transform the humble zucchini into a flavorful and nutritious dish by spiralizing it and combining it with a rich pesto sauce. Sauté the zoodle mixture until it’s tender, then top it off with a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese and crunchy pine nuts for added texture.

Pesto Tofu Scramble

Transforming firm tofu into a culinary masterpiece is as simple as combining it with the rich flavors of pesto sauce, the crunch of diced bell peppers, and the nutrient-dense goodness of spinach. This harmonious blend creates a delectable vegan breakfast solution that’s sure to kick-start your day.

Pesto Brussels Sprouts

Transforming halved Brussels sprouts into a delectable side dish, start by roasting them to perfection. To add an extra layer of flavor, drizzle the roasted vegetables with a rich pesto sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. As the cheese melts and the sprouts caramelize, you’ll be left with a crispy and savory delight that’s sure to please even the pickiest of eaters.

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Thighs

Transform boneless, skinless chicken thighs by cutting a slit down their center and filling it with a savory blend of creamy ricotta cheese, vibrant pesto sauce, and sweet sun-dried tomatoes. As you bake the chicken to perfection, watch as the filling transforms into a golden-hued delight that complements the juicy poultry perfectly.

Pesto Cheese Ball

Combine the richness of cream cheese with the bold flavors of shredded cheddar, the crunch of chopped nuts, and the vibrant taste of pesto sauce. Form the mixture into a cohesive ball and then coat it generously in a medley of chopped fresh herbs. This unique creation is best enjoyed with a cracker, allowing each component to shine in harmony.

Pesto Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Transform your pork tenderloin by creating a flavorful filling that combines the richness of pesto sauce, the crunch of breadcrumbs, and the nutty taste of grated Parmesan. To do this, carefully cut a slit along the length of the tenderloin, just deep enough to hold your chosen filling ingredients. Next, mix together equal parts of pesto sauce and breadcrumbs, then stir in some grated Parmesan until well combined. Stuff the mixture into the pork tenderloin, making sure to fill it evenly. Finally, place the stuffed tenderloin on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until the pork is cooked through and the filling is golden brown, crispy perfection.

Pesto Veggie Wrap

Begin by spreading a generous helping of pesto sauce onto a tortilla, serving as the foundation for your flavorful wrap. Next, add a medley of roasted or grilled vegetables to provide a satisfying crunch and depth of flavor. Thinly sliced avocado adds creaminess, while fresh greens bring a burst of freshness. Once all the ingredients are in place, roll up the tortilla to reveal a delicious wrap that’s sure to satisfy your cravings.

Pesto Grits

Transform the humble side dish by blending rich and herby pesto sauce with a comforting pot of creamy, cheesy grits. The result is a harmonious union of flavors that will elevate your meal to new heights.

Pesto Mozzarella Sticks

Transform mozzarella sticks into a flavorful masterpiece by coating them in pesto-flavored breadcrumbs, then baking until the cheese melts and the breading achieves a satisfying golden brown hue. Complete the experience by serving with a rich and tangy marinara sauce.

Pesto Tabbouleh Salad

Elevate your tabbouleh game by combining cooked bulgur wheat with an assortment of fresh vegetables, including crunchy diced cucumbers, juicy cherry tomatoes, and fragrant parsley. To give it an added boost of flavor, incorporate a generous amount of pesto into the mix, allowing its rich and herby essence to meld harmoniously with the other ingredients.

Pesto Broccoli Soup

Transform the humble broccoli into a rich and velvety soup by combining it with the bold flavors of pesto sauce, savory chicken or vegetable broth, and a hint of luxurious cream. The key to achieving this creamy consistency is in the blending process – simply cook your broccoli until tender, then purée it with your chosen broth, pesto sauce, and a splash of cream for a sumptuous soup that’s sure to become a new favorite.

Pesto Coleslaw

Transform a medley of shredded cabbage and carrots into a scrumptious coleslaw by combining them with a zesty dressing. Simply mix the vegetables with a harmonious blend of mayonnaise, pesto sauce, and apple cider vinegar, allowing the tangy flavors to meld together in perfect harmony.

Pesto Cucumber Bites

Elevate your snack game by stacking thinly sliced cucumbers with a generous helping of fragrant pesto, a juicy cherry tomato half, and a delicate sprig of fresh basil. This effortless combination yields a revitalizing appetizer that’s as visually appealing as it is delicious.

Pesto Quiche

Combine the simplicity of eggs, milk, and the rich flavor of pesto sauce by mixing them together. Next, transfer this mixture into a pre-made pie crust. To add some texture and extra nutrition, sautéed vegetables can be incorporated into the mix. Finally, sprinkle shredded cheese on top and bake until the quiche is cooked through and the filling is set.

Pesto Crusted Tofu

Transform the humble tofu slice into a flavorful and textured masterpiece by coating it with a medley of pesto-infused breadcrumbs. The result is a satisfying crunch and subtle nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with a variety of accompaniments – think roasted vegetables, quinoa bowls, or even a simple green salad. Simply bake until golden brown and serve to delight the senses.

Pesto Guacamole

Transform the humble guacamole by blending mashed avocado with diced tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, and a generous dollop of pesto. Serve this flavorful fusion with crunchy tortilla chips for a delightful twist on the classic. Pesto’s incredible versatility and bold flavors make it an ideal addition to any dish, whether you’re looking to elevate a simple sandwich or create a show-stopping pasta masterpiece. The recipes showcased here offer easy, delicious, and creative ways to harness pesto’s potential. They’re perfect for when you want to try something new, use up leftover ingredients, or simply experiment with flavors in your kitchen. Who knows? You might just stumble upon your own signature pesto creation!