Pesto Plus! – Creative Ways to Use Pesto
Creamy Pesto Dip
- Mix one 8 oz. package softened cream cheese, 1⁄4 cup milk and 3 tablespoons pesto. Beat until smooth and serve with your favorite chips.
Italian Style Scramble
- Whisk 8 eggs, 1⁄4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese, and 1⁄4 tsp. salt. Cook in buttered, 12” nonstick skillet on medium heat, stirring for 3 minutes or until just set. Transfer to platter and top with pesto.
- Whisk 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3 Tbsp. Pesto, 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise until blended. Toss with 4 cups cooked, cooled pasta.
- Top each of 4 (6 oz.) skinless salmon fillets with layer of 2 tsp. pesto, then 2 Tbsp. panko. Bake in pan in 350 degree oven 25 minutes or until cooked through.
- Mix 1 lb. ground turkey, 1⁄2 cup breadcrumbs, 1⁄2 cup pesto, 1⁄4 cup milk and 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Form into small balls. Cook in a nonstick skillet with olive oil, 10 to 12 minutes. Or bake at 400 degrees, until light brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meatballs in Pesto Cream
- Make Pesto Meatballs. Cook until just browned, then add 1 cup chicken broth, 1⁄4 cup pesto and simmer until tender. Stir in 1⁄2 cup cream and simmer until heated through.
- Make Pesto Meatballs but form into patties and grill. Serve on toasted ciabatta rolls with pesto, mozzarella cheese, tomato and arugula.
- Split a loaf of French bread and brush with pesto. Top with capicola, shredded mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Broil until the cheese melts.
- Spread pesto mixed with mayonnaise on toasted bread; fill with crisp pancetta, sliced tomato and arugula.
- Mix 1 cup ricotta, 1 cup chopped spinach, 1⁄2 cup flour, 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1⁄4 cup pesto and 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder. Chill 30 minutes. Deep-fry tablespoonfuls in 350 degrees vegetable oil until golden, 4 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.
- Grill or steam corn, then brush with Basil Butter (by Doris Pogada). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
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 cheese. Toss with 12 oz. cooked tortellini and 2 cups steamed broccoli.
- Toss 1 lb. cooked orecchiette with 1⁄2 cup pesto, 1⁄2 cup ricotta and 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Add 1 bunch chopped steamed broccoli.
Pesto Primavera Salad:
- Toss 12 oz. cooked gemelli or penne with 4 cups sliced steamed vegetables, 1 cup diced mozzarella cheese, 3⁄4 cup pesto and 1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Top with toasted sliced almonds.
- Cook 1⁄2 lb. cavatelli and 1⁄2 lb. 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.
- Make Potato-Pesto Pasta. Saute 1 lb. calamari in a skillet with olive oil, 3 to 4 minutes. Toss with the pasta.
- Saute 4 sliced garlic cloves in a pot with olive oil until golden, 2 minutes. Add 2 lbs. mussels and 1 cup white wine; cover and cook until the mussels open, about 4 minutes. Stir in 3 Tbsp. Pesto.
- Make Pesto Musssels, using clams instead of mussels. Add 1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Toss with linguine.
Pesto Green Beans
- Toss 1 lb. steamed green beans with 3 Tbsp. pesto and the juice of 1⁄2 lemon.
- Cook 4 oz. 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 Tbsp. pesto and heat through.
Pesto Orzo with Peas
- Make Pancetta-Pesto Peas (see above). Stir in 1 1⁄2 cups cooked orzo and 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese.
Pesto Potato Salad
- Cook 2 lbs. quartered new potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Whisk 1 cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp. pesto and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss with the potatoes and 1 cup diced celery.
Pesto Chicken Salad
- Whisk 3 Tbsp. pesto with 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise and 1⁄4 cup sour cream. Stir in 4 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1⁄2 cup chopped celery, 1⁄4 cup chopped red onion, 1⁄4 cup walnuts and 1⁄4 cup crisp bacon.
Pesto Egg Salad
- Whisk 1⁄4 cup mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. pesto, 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Fold in 8 chopped hard-boiled eggs, 1 cup chopped celery and 2 Tbsp. minced red onion.
Pesto Tuna Salad
- Toss 2 cans drained tuna, 1 can drained chickpeas, 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley, 1⁄4 cup chopped red onion, 1⁄4 cup red peppers, 3 Tbsp. pesto and 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar.
- Mix 1⁄4 cup pesto, 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp. hot water. Grill or broil 1 1⁄4 lbs. skirt steak and brush with pesto mixture.
- Cook 1 grated zucchini in a ovenproof skillet with butter. Stir in 1⁄4 cup chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. pesto and 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese. Add 6 beaten eggs and cook until almost set, 3 minutes. Bake in a 350 degrees F oven until set, 15 minutes.
Pesto Lamb Kebabs
- Skewer 1 lb. cubed lamb and some red onion. Brush with a mix of 1⁄4 cup pesto and 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar. Marinate 1 hour, then grill.
- Mix 1⁄4 cup pesto with the juice of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp. hot water. Spoon over grilled or broiled swordfish.
- Marinate 1 lb. shrimp in 2 Tbsp. pesto and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add 1 lemon cut into wedges and 1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes. Grill about 3 minutes per side. Season with salt.
Pesto Roast Chicken
- Mix the juice of 1 lemon, 1/3 cup pesto and 1 tsp. red pepper flakes. Rub onto a 6 lb. chicken. Stuff with garlic and lemon. Roast in a 375 degrees F oven, about 2 hours.