50 Things to Make With Pesto
Turn pesto into soup, salad and more.
How to make pesto:
Blend 8 cups packed basil leaves, 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, 2 to 4 garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until almost smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan.
1. Pesto Meatballs Mix 1 pound ground turkey with 1/2 cup each breadcrumbs and pesto, and 1/4 cup each milk and grated Parmesan. Form into small balls. Cook in a nonstick skillet with olive oil, 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Meatballs in Pesto Cream Make Pesto Meatballs (No. 1); cook until just browned, then add 1 cup chicken broth and 1/4 cup pesto and simmer until tender. Stir in 1/2 cup cream and simmer.
3. Pesto Burgers Make Pesto Meatballs (No. 1) but form into patties and grill. Serve on toasted ciabatta rolls with pesto, mozzarella, tomato and arugula.
4. Pesto Pizza Split a loaf of French bread and brush with pesto. Top with capicola, shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Broil until the cheese melts.
5. Italian BLT Spread pesto mixed with mayonnaise on toasted bread; fill with crisp pancetta, sliced tomato and arugula.
6. Pesto Fritters Mix 1 cup each ricotta and chopped spinach, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup each grated Parmesan and pesto, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder; chill 30 minutes. Deep-fry tablespoonfuls in 350 degrees F vegetable oil until golden, 4 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.
7. Pesto Butter Mash 3/4 cup pesto into 4 tablespoons softened butter.
8. Pesto Corn Grill or steam corn, then brush with Pesto Butter (No. 7). Sprinkle with Parmesan.
9. Pesto Sweet Potatoes Bake sweet potatoes at 425 degrees F until tender, 40 minutes. Quarter lengthwise and spread with Pesto Butter (No. 7).
10. Pesto Cream Tortellini Simmer 1 cup heavy cream with 1/4 cup pesto in a skillet until slightly thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Toss with 12 ounces cooked tortellini and 2 cups steamed broccoli.
11. Ricotta-Broccoli Pasta Toss 1 pound cooked orecchiette with 1/2 cup each pesto, ricotta and grated Parmesan. Add 1 bunch chopped steamed baby broccoli.
12. Baked Pesto Gnocchi Toss 1 pound cooked gnocchi with 3 tablespoons pesto and 1 tablespoon softened butter in a baking dish. Sprinkle with grated pecorino and broil until golden.
13. Tuna–White Bean Pasta Cook 1 sliced garlic clove in a skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 can each drained tuna and white beans, and 1/4 cup pesto. Toss with 12 ounces cooked spaghetti and some torn basil.
14. Pesto Primavera Salad Toss 12 ounces cooked gemelli or penne with 4 cups sliced steamed vegetables, 1 cup diced mozzarella, 3/4 cup pesto and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Top with toasted sliced almonds.
15. Potato-Pesto Pasta Cook 1/2 pound cavatelli and 1/2 pound chopped peeled russet potatoes in boiling water until tender, 8 to 9 minutes. Drain and toss with 1/4 cup pesto and some of the cooking liquid.
16. Calamari-Pesto Pasta Make Potato-Pesto Pasta (No. 15). Saute 1 pound calamari in a skillet with olive oil, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss with the pasta.
17. Pesto Mussels Saute 4 sliced garlic cloves in a pot with olive oil until golden, 2 minutes. Add 2 pounds mussels and 1 cup white wine; cover and cook until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto.
18. Pesto-Clam Linguine Make Pesto Mussels (No. 17), using clams instead of mussels. Add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Toss with linguine.
19. Pesto Green Beans Toss 1 pound steamed green beans with 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1/2 lemon.
20. Pancetta-Pesto Peas Cook 4 ounces diced pancetta in a skillet with olive oil until crisp; remove with a slotted spoon. Add 1 bag frozen peas and 1 cup water to the skillet; simmer until tender, 10 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and heat through.
21. Pesto Orzo with Peas Make Pancetta-Pesto Peas (No. 20). Stir in 1 1/2 cups cooked orzo and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
22. Pesto Potato Salad Cook 2 pounds quartered new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes; drain and cool slightly. Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons pesto and the juice of 1 lemon; toss with the potatoes and 1 cup diced celery.
23. Pesto Chicken Salad Whisk 3 tablespoons pesto with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in 4 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup each chopped red onion, walnuts and crisp bacon.
24. Pesto Egg Salad Whisk 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons each pesto and olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Fold in 8 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup chopped celery and 2 tablespoons minced red onion.
25. Pesto Tuna Salad Toss 2 cans drained tuna, 1 can drained chickpeas, 1/4 cup each chopped parsley, red onion and roasted red peppers, 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.
26. Pesto Succotash Cook 5 cups corn, 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes and 1/4 cup chopped red onion in a skillet with 1 tablespoon butter until soft, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cooked lima beans and 1/4 cup heavy cream; heat through, then stir in 2 tablespoons pesto.
27. Lemon-Pesto Dip Whisk 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup each mayonnaise, Parmesan and pesto, 2 tablespoons capers and 2 teaspoons each lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.
28. Pesto Hummus Mix 1 cup hummus with 2 tablespoons pesto. Top with chopped mint, toasted pine nuts and a dash of paprika.
29. Pesto Croutons Toss 4 cups bread cubes, 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet; bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
30. Pesto Panzanella Toss Pesto Croutons (No. 29) with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, some chopped tomatoes and cucumber, sliced red onion and more pesto.
31. Pesto Salad Whisk 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar and 1/4 cup pesto. Toss with baby greens and serve with baguette toasts spread with goat cheese.
32. Pesto Caesar Salad Whisk 2 tablespoons pesto with 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Toss with romaine and croutons; top with shaved Parmesan.
33. Pesto Quesadilla Saute 1/2 cup each sliced scallions, mushrooms and zucchini with some pesto, minced jalapenos and cilantro. Brown a flour tortilla in a skillet with butter; top with the vegetables, shredded muenster and another tortilla. Flip and cook.
34. Pesto Grilled Cheese Brush 2 slices rustic bread with pesto, then sandwich with sliced cheddar or provolone. Butter the outside of the bread and cook in a skillet over medium heat until golden.
35. Pesto-Tomato Soup Cook 3/4 cup chopped shallots and some fresh thyme in a pot with butter. Add 1 large can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup cream; simmer 20 minutes. Puree, then stir in 3 tablespoons pesto.
36. Pesto Steak Mix 1/4 cup pesto, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon hot water. Grill or broil 1 1/4 pounds skirt steak; brush with the pesto.
37. Pesto Frittata Cook 1 grated zucchini in an ovenproof skillet with butter. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons each pesto and grated Parmesan. Add 6 beaten eggs and cook until almost set, 3 minutes. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven until set, 15 minutes.
38. Pesto Fried Chicken Mix 1 cup milk and 1/2 cup pesto; add 3 1/2 pounds chicken pieces and soak 30 minutes. Dredge the chicken in 3 cups flour mixed with 1 teaspoon each paprika, salt and pepper. Fry in 350 degrees F vegetable oil, 12 to 15 minutes.
39. Pesto Wings Marinate 2 pounds chicken wings in 1/2 cup pesto and 1/4 cup each cider vinegar, hot sauce and honey. Roast at 425 degrees F, 40 minutes. Toss with chopped basil and mint.
40. Pesto Lamb Kebabs Skewer 1 pound cubed lamb and some red onion. Brush with a mix of 1/4 cup pesto and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar. Marinate 1 hour, then grill.
41. Pesto Salmon Cakes Mix 1 pound cooked flaked salmon with 1 cup panko, 1/4 cup pesto, 1 egg and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Form patties; cook in an oiled skillet, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with tartar sauce mixed with pesto.
42. Pesto Swordfish Mix 1/4 cup pesto with the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon hot water. Spoon over grilled or broiled swordfish.
43. Pesto Shrimp Marinate 1 pound shrimp in 2 tablespoons each pesto and olive oil; add 1 lemon (cut into wedges) and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Grill about 3 minutes per side. Season with salt.
44. Pesto Roast Chicken Mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup pesto and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes; rub onto a 6-pound chicken. Stuff with garlic and lemon. Roast in a 375 degrees F oven, about 2 hours.
45. Pesto-Sausage Chicken Mix 1/2 pound crumbled sausage with 1/4 cup pesto, 1 chopped shallot and 2 tablespoons each breadcrumbs and grated pecorino. Stuff under the skin of 4 bone-in chicken breasts. Roast in a 375 degrees F oven, about 45 minutes.
46. Pesto Beans Saute 5 sliced garlic cloves and a pinch of red pepper flakes in a skillet with olive oil. Add 2 cans drained cannellini beans and 1 cup water; simmer until thick, 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
47. Pesto Bean Soup Make Pesto Beans (No. 46). Add 3 cups chicken broth and 1 cup chopped celery; cook 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each chopped olives and roasted peppers.
48. Pesto Mash Boil 3 pounds peeled russet potatoes until tender. Mash with 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons pesto.
49. Pesto Cornbread Prepare an 8.5-ounce box of cornbread mix as the label directs, adding 3 tablespoons pesto to the batter.
50. Pesto Frites Whisk 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons each pesto and olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with french fries.