50 Things To Make With Pesto


Well my fellow foodies I am back in the saddle after being down for a week due to surgery. I am still a bit sore, and have done ZERO cooking (much to Kevin’s dismay). So while I get my recipes organized I thought I would post this little goodie for you all since I LOVE pesto!

50 Things To Make With Pesto

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 cheese.

1. Pesto Meatballs
Mix 1 pound ground turkey with 1/2 cup each breadcrumbs and pesto, and 1/4 cup each milk and 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 (#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 (#1) but form into patties and grill. Serve on toasted ciabatta rolls with pesto, mozzarella, tomato and arugala.

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 mayo on toasted bread; fill with crisp pancetta, sliced tomato and arugala.

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 backing powder; chill 30 minutes. make small patties (about a tablespoon) and deep-fry in 350 degree vegetable oil until golden, 4 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.

7. Pesto Butter
Mash 3/4 cup pesto into 4 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter.

8. Pesto Corn
Grill or steam corn, then brush with Pesto Butter (#7). Sprinkle with parmesan.

9. Pesto Sweet Potatoes
Baked sweet potatoes at 425 until tender, 40 minutes. Quarter lengthwise and spread with Pesto Butter.

10. Pesto Cream Tortellini
Simmer 1 cup heavy cream with 1/4 cup pesto in a skillet until slightly thickened. Stir in 1/4 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 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, add 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. Driain and toss with 1/4 cup pesto and some of the cooking liquid.

16. Calamari-Pesto Pasta
Make Potato-Pesto Pasta (#15). Saute 1 pound calamari in a skillet with olive oil, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss with pasta.

17. Pesto Muscles
Saute 4 sliced garlic cloves in a pot with olive oil until golden, 2 minutes. Add 2 pounds muscles and 1 cup white wine; cover and cook until the muscles open, about 4 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pesto.

18. Pesto-Clam Linguine 

Make Pest Muscles (see above) using clams instead of muscles. Add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Toss with linguine.

19. Pesto Green Beans
Toss 1 pounded 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 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 (#20). Stir in 1 1/2 cups cooked orzo and 2 tablespoon 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 mayo, 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 each mayo 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 mayo, 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 red onion in a skillet with 1 tablespoon butter until soft, 5 minutes. Add 2 cups cooked lima beans and1/4 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 mayo, 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 tablespoon oilve oil. Spread on a baking sheet; bakes 20 minutes at 350.

30 Pesto Panzanella
Toss Pesto Croutons (#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 baquette 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 jalapeno and cilantro. Brown a flour tortilla in a skillet with butter; top with the veggies, 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 of 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 pound skirt steak; brush with the pesto.

37. Pesto Frittata
Cook one grated zucchini in an oven proof 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 oven until set, 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 honesy. Roast at 425, 40 minutes. Toss with chopped basil and mint.

40. Pesto Lamb Kebabs
Skewer 1 pound cubed lamb and some red onion. Brush with a mixture 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 tablespoon 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 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 over, about 45 minutes.

46. Pesto Beans
Saute 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 (#46). Add 3 cups chicken stock and 1 cup chopped celery; cook 15 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup each chopped olives and roasted peppers.

48. Pesto Mash
Boil 3 ponds 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 cornbread mix as the label directs, adding 3 tablespoons pesto to the batter.

50. Pesto Frites
Whisk 1/3 cup mayo, 2 tablespoons each pesto and olive oil, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with french fries.

Hint – freeze your pesto in an ice cube tray to give you small portions of pesto to be defrosted and used. It will last forever!

About Bobbi Burleson

Mom to 2 kiddos and one little Westhighland Terrier. A So Cal girl at heart, I now live with my boyfriend/sous chef in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I am a writer, recipe developer, photographer, and lover of wildlife, the out of doors, and scrapbooking. My philosophy is to hold those you love close and enjoy each and every moment you can. Oh, and eat mac and cheese, you can never have too much mac and cheese!

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