10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With Pesto

Whether you buy it in a jar or whip it up yourself, pesto is one of the most versatile sauces and adds instant flavour to almost any dish. 

vegetable with pesto

1. Spread on Bruschetta 

Loyal pesto fans may already be fond of this easy, flavourful snack – a dollop of the beloved basil sauce spread over bread or ciabatta makes a delightful base for bruschetta.

Stack your toast high with toppings from chopped tomato to mozzarella, smashed peas or Parmesan – or get creative with a green, spicy kick in the form of avocado, kale and chilli.

2. Toss with Veggies

Roasted veg is universally appreciated as an easy and delicious weeknight meal. Roast them in pesto and, suddenly, your humble veggies will be transformed into an even more nutritious, flavour-packed side dish.

You can also use pesto as a sauce to toss over your roasted vegetables, such as in this vibrant grilled aubergine, tomato and mozzarella salad. 

vegetables with pesto

3. Top your Tacos

While it might not be a standard staple in Mexican cuisine, pesto makes a zingy and unique addition to salsa and guacamole. Make a pesto-infused guacamole and serve with these quick fish tacos.

Or, if your fridge is looking a little empty, whip out a jar of pesto to add a quick bolt of flavour to these red refried bean tacos made with a few store cupboard staples. 

4. Go Beyond Basil 

There’s no need to feel bound by tradition: be bold and get creative with any number of twists on the classic. Minimise waste and use leftover salad leaves to whip up the leftover spinach and rocket pesto, as seen in this video.

5. Upgrade Your Breakfast

Customise your morning mushrooms on toast with fresh green pesto, melted mozzarella and sundried tomatoes perfect for a weekend brunch. Or construct a simple breakfast bowl with poached or boiled eggs, smoked salmon and a dollop of pesto to finish. 

egg and pesto on toast

6. Replace Tomato Sauce 

If you’re stuck in a pizza rut, make the swap from a classic tomato basil sauce as the base to pesto. For an easy meat-free recipe, we love a Pizza Bianca with garlic mushrooms, goat’s cheese and pesto. Alternatively, liven up a vegetable tart by dotting spoonfuls of pesto on top, just before serving.

pizza with pesto

7. Garnish a Soup 

A chunky, nutty pesto will add texture to puréed soups while a red sundried tomato pesto will add texture and a welcome splash of colour.

You’ll find all the flavours you crave this season in this Morroccan chicken and lentil soup, scatter some pesto over the top to add to the spicy and warming flavours.

8. Freshen Up Roasts 

When you’re lacking inspiration, pesto will immediately perk up simply grilled meats and roasts. Here, a traditional roast leg of lamb is livened up by coating it in a pesto and rosemary glaze.

lamb with pesto

9. Mix Into Dressing 

Thin out a classic pesto with apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar for a versatile dressing that will add a punchy lift to any salad. Try with sweet, ripe tomatoes, tossed with feta and fresh basil before drizzling with your green-hued dressing.

10. Bake into Pastries

Don’t leave that half jar of pesto to languish in the back of the fridge. Whip up some pizza puff pinwheels, simple enough to make with the kids. Spread a few tablespoons onto a piece of shop-bought puff pastry; roll it up, cut into slices and bake until golden and crispy. 

pesto pastry