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How to Use Up Pesto: 54 Pesto Recipes That Go Beyond Pasta

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Oh no, you’ve made too much pesto! No worries, there are plenty of creative and delicious ways to use it up. Here are 54 delicious recipes to use up pesto.

Pesto, a delicious and versatile sauce, is a delightful addition to various dishes in your kitchen. Made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and olive oil, this flavorful concoction can elevate your cooking game with its incredible taste and aroma.

But on the rare ocassions you find yourself with a jar of pesto and are now wondering how to maximize its potential, here is a list of creative and mouthwatering ways to make the most of your pesto. From transforming pasta dishes to enhancing chicken recipes, there are numerous ways to use this amazing ingredient.

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What can I do with too much pesto?

One of the best ways to use up leftover pesto is to freeze it. Spoon pesto into ice cube trays and freeze for later use. Once frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer bag. This way, you have perfect portions of pesto ready whenever you need them.

It’s a fantastic method for preserving the flavor of fresh pesto, especially during the winter months when fresh basil leaves may not be readily available.

29 Basic Pesto Recipes

  1. Pesto pasta: The most obvious and classic way to use pesto is to toss it with your favorite pasta. This is your easy pesto pasta recipe. It’s simple, yet brings so much flavor to the table. Stir a swirl of pesto through freshly cooked pasta, add a little extra olive oil, and finish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for an easy and satisfying meal. Feel free to add cherry tomatoes, roasted vegetables, or grilled chicken for extra flavor and texture.
  2. Pesto pizza: Instead of traditional pizza sauce, try spreading a layer of pesto on your homemade pizza dough. Top it with your favorite veggies, meats, and cheeses for a mouth-watering twist on pizza night. My favorite toppings include mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, or arugula.
  3. Pesto Garlic Bread: Stir some pesto into melted butter, spread on bread, and toast for an Italian twist on garlic bread.
  4. Sandwiches and wraps: Add a spread of pesto to your sandwich, wrap, or panini, whether it’s a caprese salad sandwich, a grilled cheese, or a breakfast wrap with eggs and cheese.
  5. Soups and stews: Stir in a spoonful of pesto into your soup or stew for an instant hit of flavor.
  6. Appetizers: Serve pesto alongside crusty bread, focaccia, or sliced vegetables as a flavorful dip or topping.
  7. Pesto Quiche: Add a spoonful of pesto to your quiche filling for a deliciously different breakfast or brunch dish. The pesto adds a fresh herby flavor that pairs beautifully with the eggs and cheese.
  8. Pesto Hummus: Stir a spoonful of pesto into your hummus for a Mediterranean twist. It’s a great way to use up pesto and it makes for a delicious spread or dip.
  9. Pesto baked fish: Give your fish dish an extra depth of flavor by spreading a layer of pesto on top before baking. Try an olive-crusted fish with pesto.
  10. Pesto Chicken: In a hurry? just add a dollop of pesto to some juicy chicken breasts and roasts for a delicious dinner. Add some cherry tomatoes and red peppers for extra flavor.
  11. Pesto Popcorn: Drizzle a little pesto over your popcorn for a snack that’s both delicious and different.
  12. Pesto Swirled Soup: Swirl a little pesto into your favorite soup for an instant flavor boost. The pesto adds depth and richness to even the simplest soups.
  13. Pesto-marinated veggies: Coat your favorite vegetables in pesto and let them marinate for a bit before roasting or grilling. This will add a deliciously herby kick to your usual veggie dish. The pesto caramelizes as the vegetables roast, creating a dish full of flavor and texture.
  14. Pesto Lasagna: Swap the traditional tomato sauce for pesto in your lasagna for a new favorite recipe. The pesto layers beautifully with the creamy cheese, making this lasagna a hit with everyone.
  15. Pesto quinoa bowls: Give your quinoa bowl a new twist by mixing in some pesto. Try pairing a quinoa recipe with sweet potatoes, kale, and pesto for a healthy and filling meal.
  16. Pesto and Cream Cheese Sandwiches: Spread cream cheese and a layer of pesto on sourdough bread for a light lunch or snack. The creamy cheese and vibrant pesto make a great pair.
  17. Pesto panini: Spread pesto inside your favorite sandwich or panini for an added burst of flavor.
  18. Pesto egg scramble: Mix pesto into your scrambled eggs to give them a zesty upgrade. Perfect for a fancy weekend brunch!
  19. Pesto Rice: Stir a cup of pesto into your cooked rice for a side dish that is sure to impress. Pesto rice can be the perfect base for a rice bowl or a complement to a roast chicken.
  20. Pesto and Greek Yogurt Dip: Mix some pesto into Greek yogurt for a healthy and tasty dip. Add some lemon zest for an extra tangy kick.
  21. Pesto Mac and Cheese: Stir a cup of pesto into your mac and cheese for a gourmet twist. The pesto blends beautifully with the creamy cheese sauce, creating a dish that’s comfort food at its finest.
  22. Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Stuff roasted sweet potatoes with a mixture of pesto and goat cheese for a comforting and filling meal.
  23. Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches: Spread a little pesto on the bread before adding the cheese for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. The pesto adds a lovely depth of flavor.
  24. Pesto Green Beans: Toss green beans in a little pesto for an easy side dish. The pesto adds a burst of flavor that will make even the most ordinary green beans seem special.
  25. Pesto-infused couscous: Stir pesto into cooked couscous for a quick and flavorsome side dish. It’s one of my top ten ways to use up pesto.
  26. Pesto Bruschetta: Make your bruschetta even more delicious by spreading a thin layer of pesto on the bread before adding the tomato mixture.
  27. Marinades and dressings: Mix pesto with lemon juice or other ingredients to create a tasty marinade for chicken, shrimp, scallops, or other meats. Pesto can also be incorporated into salad dressings, adding a burst of flavor to your greens.
  28. Pesto Salad Dressing: Mix pesto with a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil for a homemade salad dressing that packs a punch of flavor.
  29. Pesto Mashed Potatoes: Mix pesto into mashed potatoes for a fresh and herby take on this classic side dish.

Enjoy experimenting with these fun ways to use up excess pesto! And don’t forget to let me know which one is your favorite!

25 More Top-Rated Recipes To Use Up Pesto

Pesto Pasta Caprese Salad

Photo Credit: The Mediterranean Dish

A delightful twist on the classic caprese salad, this dish combines pasta with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto. To make it, simply cook your preferred pasta, toss with pesto, and then mix in halved cherry tomatoes and cubed mozzarella. You can also add fresh basil leaves for an extra touch of freshness.

Pesto Zoodles

For a low-carb option, try pesto zoodles. Spiralize zucchini into noodles, sauté them for a few minutes, and toss with your favorite pesto sauce. This dish pairs well with grilled chicken or shrimp, making it a versatile and healthy meal option.

Smoked Salmon Pesto Pasta

A flavorful and simple dish, smoked salmon pesto pasta is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Cook pasta, drain, and return it to the pot. Stir in pesto, smoked salmon, and a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing twist. Optionally, you can add cherry tomatoes or capers for extra flavor.

Pesto Linguine

Pesto linguine shines by using long, flat noodles that cling to the flavorful pesto sauce. Cook linguine as directed, then toss with pesto and a splash of pasta water for a creamy texture. Add freshly shaved parmesan cheese on top for extra richness.

Pesto Spaghetti

One classic way to use up pesto is by simply making pesto spaghetti. As shown by A Couple Cooks, cook spaghetti, then toss it with pesto and a bit of pasta water for a silky, well-distributed sauce. Season with salt and serve.

Pesto Penne

Another classic pasta dish to try is pesto penne. Cook penne and toss with pesto, adding a touch of pasta water to create a creamy consistency. You can customize this dish by adding veggies, such as sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers, or proteins like grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp.

Pesto Orzo

For a unique spin on pesto pasta, combine cooked orzo with pesto, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. This Mediterranean-inspired dish is perfect as a side or as a light main course, and it’s great for picnics or potlucks.

Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Portobellos

Get your vegetarian appetizers started with Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Portobellos. Simply spread your favorite pesto on the underside of portobello mushrooms, top with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, then grill them to perfection. Enjoy these delicious bites as they are, or serve them on a bed of arugula for an extra touch.

Goat Cheese Arugula Pizza

Why not try a Goat Cheese Arugula Pizza? Layer your pizza crust with pesto, add crumbled goat cheese and fresh arugula, then bake until crispy. This simple but flavorful pizza will be a hit at your next gathering or family dinner.

Poached Eggs Caprese

For a delicious twist on a classic, try Poached Eggs Caprese. Top toasted bread with a slice of fresh mozzarella, a poached egg, and a dollop of pesto. Finish with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil for a mouthwatering appetizer.

Scallops with Pesto Cream Sauce

Indulge in Scallops with Pesto Cream Sauce. Pan-sear scallops until golden, then drizzle them with a luscious pesto cream sauce made from heavy cream and your choice of pesto. This elegant starter is sure to impress your guests.

Pesto Shrimp Sandwich

Create an irresistible Pesto Shrimp Sandwich by tossing cooked shrimp in pesto and layering them on crusty bread. Complete this delicious sandwich with your favorite toppings like arugula, tomatoes, and mozzarella.

Pesto Caprese Salad

Upgrade your Caprese Salad with a pesto twist! Layer fresh basil, mozzarella, and ripe tomatoes, then drizzle with pesto instead of the traditional balsamic glaze. This refreshing salad is perfect for summer gatherings or as a light appetizer.

Pesto Focaccia

Elevate your bread game with Pesto Focaccia. Spread pesto onto a prepared focaccia dough, sprinkle with some coarse salt, and bake until golden and fragrant. Serve this savory bread as a delightful snack or appetizer.

Pesto Potato Salad

Add some zing to your potato salad by mixing in a generous amount of pesto. This Pesto Potato Salad is perfect for potlucks or as a tasty side dish. Simply combine boiled potatoes, pesto, and your preferred mix-ins like cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, or even smoked salmon for a unique and flavorful dish.

Enjoy these scrumptious appetizers and snacks that highlight the versatility of pesto in a variety of dishes. From vegetarian options to seafood delights, there’s something for everyone to love on this list, making it easy to use up that jar of pesto in no time.

Pesto Chicken

You can easily transform ordinary chicken into a delightful dish by adding pesto. Simply season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then spread a generous layer of pesto on each breast. Bake in the oven until cooked through, and enjoy your Pesto Chicken.

Pesto Sheet Pan Dinner

For a quick and convenient meal, try a Pesto Sheet Pan Dinner. Toss your favorite vegetables, like cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and bell peppers, with some cubed chicken or tofu and a generous dollop of pesto. Spread the mixture on a sheet pan and roast until everything is cooked to your desired level. Pair this with a simple side, like quinoa or couscous, for a complete and delicious meal.

Grilled Portobellos

Give your grilled portobello mushrooms a burst of flavor by marinating them in pesto. Simply brush the mushroom caps with pesto and let them sit for a few minutes before grilling. Once they’re cooked, serve these tasty mushroom caps as a main dish or pile them onto a bun for a satisfying veggie burger.

Pesto Salmon

Upgrade your typical salmon dish by covering it with a layer of pesto. You can even mix pesto with breadcrumbs to create a delightful crust. Bake or broil the salmon to perfection, and enjoy a healthy and tasty main course.

Pesto Spread

Transform your sandwiches and wraps with a simple Pesto Spread. Mix pesto with cream cheese or Greek yogurt for a creamy, flavorful addition to your favorite breakfast or lunch sandwiches. Don’t limit yourself to bread; try spreading pesto onto your favorite crackers, sliced cucumbers, or pita chips as a quick snack.

Pesto Arugula Pizza

Elevate your pizza night by making a Pesto Arugula Pizza. Replace the traditional tomato sauce with a layer of pesto, then top with mozzarella cheese, fresh arugula, and any other toppings you prefer. Bake on a pizza stone or sheet pan, and enjoy a delicious, pesto-infused pizza experience.

Pesto Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict gets a pesto twist by simply adding a spoonful of pesto to the classic hollandaise sauce. Just prepare your usual eggs Benedict, swapping out the ham for spinach, avocado, or smoked salmon if you wish. Drizzle your pesto hollandaise sauce over your egg and enjoy a delicious, flavor-packed breakfast.

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

For a unique and delectable breakfast, try stuffed chicken with a pesto filling. Simply season chicken breast fillets, create a pocket in the middle, and stuff it with a mixture of pesto and mozzarella cheese. Sear the chicken on both sides and finish cooking it in the oven until it’s fully cooked. Serve it with a side of roasted cherry tomatoes or fresh greens for a hearty and delicious morning meal.

Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro pesto is a fantastic, fresh alternative to traditional basil pesto. Make your own cilantro pesto by combining cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and nuts in a blender, then use it in a variety of tasty breakfast dishes. Some exciting options include cilantro pesto breakfast tacos, where you can spread the pesto onto warm tortillas and add scrambled eggs, avocado, and cheese. Or, try a cilantro pesto grilled cheese sandwich featuring your favorite bread, cheese, and loads of that zesty cilantro pesto goodness.

Pesto Roll-ups

Pesto roll-ups are perfect for a quick and easy breakfast option. All you need is a soft tortilla, pesto, some cooked and crumbled bacon or sausage, and scrambled eggs. Spread pesto onto the tortilla, followed by a layer of eggs and your choice of bacon or sausage. Roll it all up to create a delicious and portable breakfast wrap that’s perfect for those busy, on-the-go mornings.

Did you enjoy learning how to use up pesto? If you try any of these recipes, let me know what you think! Or take a picture and share it on Instagram by tagging @dwellbymichelle so I can repost it on my stories!

Extras and Storage

How long does pesto last in the fridge?

Once opened, a jar of pesto should last around two weeks in the refrigerator. To keep it fresh for as long as possible, add a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and keep it tightly sealed. If you’ve made your own pesto, storing it in a container with plastic wrap directly on the surface and a lid will provide the best results for a maximum of three weeks.

Can pesto be frozen?

Definitely! You can freeze extra pesto in ice cube trays, allowing you to add it to sauces, pasta, or your other favorite recipes in single portions as needed. Once frozen, you can transfer the pesto cubes to an airtight bag or container for longer storage. Alternatively, freeze pesto in a ¼ sheet pan and break it into smaller pieces for easy portioning. Pesto stored in the freezer can last for up to 3 months.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you jazz up jar pesto?

To make your jarred pesto more exciting, consider adding some extra ingredients. You can:

  • Mix in some grated Parmesan, Pecorino, or other hard cheese.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a zesty kick.
  • Stir in some sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers.
  • Add a handful of toasted pine nuts, walnuts or almonds for added crunch and flavor.
  • Combine it with additional herbs like basil, parsley, or cilantro for added freshness.

Remember, your goal is to create a flavor profile that appeals to your taste buds, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

What meat goes with pesto pasta?

Several meats pair well with pesto pasta. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Grilled or roasted chicken
  • Sliced Italian sausage or chorizo
  • Prosciutto or pancetta
  • Shrimp, scallops, or other seafood
  • Thinly-sliced steak or meatballs

Consider your personal preferences and dietary needs when choosing a suitable meat to accompany your pesto pasta.

How long does pesto in a jar last?

An unopened jar of pesto typically lasts in the pantry for several months. However, once opened, it’s essential to store it correctly to extend its shelf life. Fresh pesto can last up to a week when stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Make sure to press a layer of plastic wrap directly onto the pesto’s surface to prevent browning.

Alternatively, pesto can be frozen for up to 6 months. Simply store it in an airtight container, making sure to leave a little room for expansion as it freezes.

Always inspect your pesto for signs of spoilage, such as mold, an off smell, or significant color change, before using it.

54 Pesto Recipes That Go Beyond Pasta

DWELL by Michelle
Oh no, you've made too much pesto! No worries, there are plenty of creative and delicious ways to use it up. Here are 54 delicious recipes to use up pesto.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 1 serving
Calories 103 kcal


29 Basic Pesto Recipes

  • Pesto pasta
  • Pesto pizza
  • Pesto Garlic Bread
  • Sandwiches and wraps
  • Soups and stews
  • Appetizers
  • Pesto Quiche
  • Pesto Hummus
  • Pesto baked fish
  • Pesto Chicken
  • Pesto Popcorn
  • Pesto Swirled Soup
  • Pesto-marinated veggies
  • Pesto Lasagna
  • Pesto quinoa bowls
  • Pesto and Cream Cheese Sandwiches
  • Pesto panini
  • Pesto egg scramble
  • Pesto Rice
  • Pesto and Greek Yogurt Dip
  • Pesto Mac and Cheese
  • Pesto and Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
  • Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Pesto Green Beans
  • Pesto-infused couscous
  • Pesto Bruschetta
  • Marinades and dressings
  • Pesto Salad Dressing
  • Pesto Mashed Potatoes


For the 25 Top-Rated Recipes Using Pesto

  • Click the pesto-based recipe you’d like to make for its full list of ingredients and directions.

For the Basic Pesto Recipes

  • Read the blog section titled "Basic Pesto Recipes"


Calories: 103kcal
Keyword dinner, dinner ideas, easy dinner, easy dinner recipes, easy dipping sauce, easy meals, healthy dip ideas, healthy meal, quick meals, sauces, sheet pan meals
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