24 Recipes That Start With Pesto

Delectable Ideas for How to Use Pesto

Pesto sauce
Christine Glade/Getty Images

Is pesto the kitchen's most perfect sauce? Flavorful, aromatic, and fresh tasting all at once, pesto is easy to make in a food processor and infuses recipes with loads of delicious flavor. It's also a fabulous way to use up a bunch of herbs from your garden or windowsill.

We've collected our best recipes here to give you ideas for what to make with pesto, from classics like spaghetti and pizza, to pesto grilled cheese sandwiches, steaks with pesto sauce, seafood pesto dishes and...MORE plenty more. We're sure that you'll find something to help spruce up your daily dinner routine!

  • 01 of 24
    Classic Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe
    svariophoto / Getty Images

    Here's a go-to recipe for classic basil pesto sauce that you'll use again and again. Fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and aged hard cheese are blended to create a crowd-pleasing sauce that makes a beautiful accompaniment to pastas, fresh fish, roast chicken, grilled meat, and vegetables.

    This pesto also freezes beautifully, making it easy to save and serve whenever you're craving the goodness of this Italian sauce.


  • 02 of 24
    Vegan Pesto Sauce Recipe
    Zoryana Ivchenko / Getty Images

    Do you adore pesto but are committed to a vegan diet? This simple vegan pesto recipe -- without cheese -- tastes surprisingly like the real thing! The secret to its great taste is nutritional yeast to replace the Parmesan cheese, and plenty of extra garlic for added flavor. Plus, there are all those basil leaves in the recipe, which is really what makes this pesto taste so fresh and flavorful.

    Use this simple vegan and gluten-free pesto sauce with pasta, to dress up a vegan pizza, or simply serve...MORE it with bread or crackers for an appetizer.


  • 03 of 24
    Chicken and Pasta with Lemon Pesto
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    Chicken and pasta with lemon pesto is an easy and elegant main dish recipe perfect for entertaining. Fresh lemon juice and zingy grated lemon zest, plus some cream, add that special something to store-bought pesto sauce, to make it taste homemade and bring out all the flavors in this elegant main dish meal.

    The almost-instant sauce that results is savory, rich-tasting and absolutely perfect on juicy chicken and tender pasta, accented with baby peas and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


  • 04 of 24
    Breakfast Grilled Cheese With Scrambled Eggs and Arugula Pesto
    Grilled Cheese Social

    Grilled cheese for breakfast? Who wouldn't want to enjoy this grilled cheese sandwich in the morning, when it's filled with soft eggs, savory pesto, and fresh crunchy greens! Plus, it really takes only minutes to make.

    Scrumptious arugula pesto, made with walnuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt, and fresh baby arugula leaves, is the star of this savory breakfast grilled cheese sandwich that also includes perfect scrambled eggs and tangy goat cheese. The whole lot is piled...MORE between two slices of crispy, buttered whole wheat bread, to create one explosively flavorful sandwich.


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  • 05 of 24
    Tilapia with Spinach Pecan Pesto
    Ian O'Leary /Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

    Here's a beautiful fish dinner recipe that's quick and easy to make in about 30 minutes. It's simple enough to make for your lucky family at weeknight dinners, but elegant enough to have the starring role at your dinner parties.

    Easy, fresh homemade spinach pesto tops slices of tilapia -- a mild African whitefish with a high protein content and a delicate flavor.


  • 06 of 24
    Pesto Chicken
    MacKenzie Smith

    Bring this French-inspired sandwich wrap in your brown bag lunch to brighten your workday, or make a whole bunch for your next picnic.

    Provencal mustard is a fantastically flavorful, low-calorie mustard that's made with a base of Dijon and blended with roasted red peppers, garlic, and herbs. Combined in a a warm whole wheat wrap with some bright and lively pesto, fresh nutrient-packed spinach, rich and tangy crumbled goat cheese, sweet and spicy peppadews, and protein packed rotisserie...MORE chicken, it's a wrap recipe you won't be able to resist!

  • 07 of 24
    Vegetarian Pesto Pizza with Feta Cheese
    Javier Vasquez / Getty Images

    This vegetarian pesto pizza recipe uses pesto instead of tomato sauce. Topped with salty feta cheese, tangy artichokes, and Kalamata olives, this veggie pizza delivers a mouthful of Mediterranean and Greek tastes that go perfectly with baked pizza dough.

    Enjoy it for a yummy lunch or dinner, with a green salad on the side!


  • 08 of 24
    Warm Oven Brie With Pesto
    Getty Images/Alison Dunn

    Soft, rich Brie cheese smothered with a quick homemade pesto sauce is the type of appetizer you should only make when company is coming, or you'll end up eating the whole thing yourself!

    Warm, luscious Brie cheese and creamy basil pesto melt together into a cheesy, garlicky appetizer that can be scooped up with slices of baguette. It's the perfect appetizer to serve guests before sitting down to dinner, or to place on a buffet table when you want to impress.

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  • 09 of 24
    Garden Pasta Salad With Rotini
    Diana Rattray

    This tasty garden pasta salad is made with prepared pesto and loaded with fresh chopped vegetables, for a flavorful side dish that takes little time to make.

    The lemony pesto and mayonnaise dressing flavors this potluck-ready salad perfectly. You can also add some diced cooked chicken, ham, roast beef, turkey, and chopped or shredded cheese to make this salad hearty enough to be a main dish.


  • 10 of 24
    Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto Recipe
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Raw sunflower seeds take the place of the usual pine nuts or walnuts, in this nutritious pesto recipe that's chock-full of antioxidant vitamin E.

    This delectable, good-for-you recipe can be stored for up to two weeks in the fridge, or frozen for a pesto infusion anytime.


  • 11 of 24
    Pesto Salmon Pasta
    Rick Poon/Moment/Getty Images

    This super-easy and sophisticated recipe for pesto salmon pasta is perfect for company. Ready in just 30 minutes, but looking like it took forever to plan and make, this is a great dish for impressing company that makes use of leftover cooked salmon.

    Perfect for entertaining, especially if you are a beginner cook, this fish pasta recipe tastes like so much more than the sum of its ingredients.


  • 12 of 24
    Pesto Meatballs With Spaghetti
    kivoart/E+/Getty Images

    This delicious and hearty main dish pasta skillet recipe that's perfect for family dinners on busy weeknights, takes less than 30 minutes to put together and serve.

    Store-bought frozen meatballs and prepared pesto sauce are great time savers for this recipe that makes a nutritious family meal, thanks to lots of veggies. Serve this easy recipe with a tossed green salad and some garlic toast, for a complete and delicious meal.


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  • 13 of 24
    Pesto with cream cheese
    The Picture Pantry/Getty Images

    Looking for a quick party appetizer when last minute guests are arriving? You'll love this easy party dip recipe that's a snap to make, and packs loads of flavor.

    You can use purchased pesto in this simple three-ingredient recipe, or make your own pesto using fresh basil. Serve this pesto dip recipe with chips, crackers or tortilla chips. Or be healthier and surround the dip with baby carrots, bell pepper strips, broccoli, and cauliflower florets, for an easy appetizer platter. It also...MORE makes a great sandwich spread!


  • 14 of 24
    Tuna Alfredo Casserole
    Lauri Patterson/E+/Getty Images

    Tuna casserole is the ultimate in tummy-warming comfort food. But when it's made with just five ingredients and updated with some prepared pesto and fancy pasta, it's fun to make and eat too. This five-ingredient tuna Alfredo casserole recipe is perfect for dinner on a busy weeknight, when you're rushing to put together a yummy and nutritious family meal.


  • 15 of 24
    Baked Tofu With Vegan Pesto Sauce
    Angelinag00dman / Twenty20

    Looking for a vegan-friendly main dish recipe that's filling and full of flavor? This healthy vegan recipe for baked tofu with pesto sauce is so simple to prepare, and it's super tasty.

    Tofu is treated to a light marinade including pesto and balsamic vinegar, then baked in the oven to bring out all the flavors and texture. Serve this recipe over brown rice, pasta, salad greens, or quinoa, or layer it in a warm sandwich stacked with veggies, for a satisfying vegan meal.


  • 16 of 24
    Scandinavian Lemon Dill Pesto
    William Reavell/Getty Images

    Walnuts and dill take the place of the usual pine nuts and basil, in this unusual, fresh-tasting, no-cheese pesto sauce that's traditional to Scandinavian countries. As you might imagine, the dill in this recipe makes it a particularly delectable accompaniment for grilled fish or chicken.


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  • 17 of 24
    Chilean Sea Bass with Garlic Butter and Oregano Pesto
    Trinette Reed/Getty Images

    When you really want to wow your dinner guests, serve this elegant recipe that features a mouth-watering combination of flavors and textures.

    As if grilled Chilean sea bass wasn't good enough, this recipe calls for it to be drizzled with garlic butter and topped off with an oregano pesto. A truly delicious meal and perfect for any special occasion, from Valentine's Day to anniversary and birthday celebrations.


  • 18 of 24
    Cauliflower With Pesto
    Molly Watson

    Healthy steamed cauliflower gets an extra dose of yummy flavor with the addition of some delicious green pesto sauce. If you use prepared sauce from the store, add a bit of extra salt, lemon juice, or Parmesan cheese, for an extra kick of flavor.


  • 19 of 24
    Oven-Fried Pesto Chicken
    Diana Rattray

    Enjoy the finger-licking taste of fried chicken, without all the fat and calories, in this "oven-fried" chicken recipe that uses prepared pesto sauce to add plenty of great extra flavor.

    Juicy chicken breasts are pounded thin, then coated with pesto and a panko bread crumb mixture, and baked to crispy perfection. Serve these flavorful coated chicken breasts with a tossed salad and your favorite steamed vegetables for a delicious everyday family dinner.


  • 20 of 24
    Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls with Pesto
    Brian Hagiwara / Getty Image

    Lasagna roll-ups are delicious, nourishing, and a fun alternative to the traditional layered lasagna. These vegetarian lasagna rolls are made with fresh basil pesto and sweet potatoes, which means they are sweet enough for vegetarian kids, but with pesto, ricotta, and fresh spinach, they are also suitable for adults. The whole family will love this rolled lasagna recipe.


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  • 21 of 24
    Avocado Pesto Pasta
    LarisaBlinova/Getty Images

    Pesto and avocado go surprisingly well together, which you'll soon discover for yourself when you try this yummy avocado pesto pasta recipe.

    Cooked pasta is combined with fresh pesto sauce, then tossed with diced fresh avocado, for a beautiful, smooth, creamy texture and scrumptious taste. Serve this dish alongside a tossed green salad and some toasty garlic bread, for a complete, satisfying meal. Recipe includes easy tips for making it vegan-friendly and/or gluten-free.


  • 22 of 24
    Spinach Pesto Rice Bowl
    Laurel Randolph

    Rice bowls are a super trendy choice for lunch or dinner. Here's a great recipe for a spinach pesto rice bowl, featuring a super fresh-tasting pesto made from spinach leaves, toasted walnuts, lemon and garlic.

    This flavorful sauce is tossed with tender brown rice and then topped with crunchy and bitter radicchio, salty feta, creamy avocado, and a soft-boiled egg. The combination is healthy and hearty with plenty of bright flavor and makes a picture perfect lunch.

  • 23 of 24
    Pesto Meatball Risotto
    Linda Larsen

    What's not to love about pesto, meatballs, and risotto, all combined into one fabulous dish? Pesto meatball risotto is the perfect recipe to make when you need a tummy-warming meal to fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied.

    Frozen precooked meatballs and purchased pesto can be used in this easy recipe, which takes some time to make thanks to the need to keep stirring the risotto until it's cooked, but is totally worth the wait.


  • 24 of 24
    Baked Grilled Cheese Pesto Sandwiches
    Linda Larsen

    Pesto truly adds something special to these baked grilled cheese pesto sandwiches. Super delicious and so easy to make -- with only four ingredients -- this is sure to become one of your family's favorite sandwiches.

    You can use your favorite cheese in this easy sandwich, which calls for store-bought pesto and whole wheat bread, which toasts up nice and crunchy when it's grilled.