Top 5 Ways to Use Pesto

Pesto Meatballs with Orzo
Pesto Meatballs with Orzo. Linda Larsen

Purchased pesto is one of the best convenience foods on the market. It's made of basil leaves, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and pine nuts; that's all. It can be used in so many ways and can dress up a recipe in seconds. 

If you buy pesto pre-made from the store, be sure to stir it before you use it in these recipes and ideas. As it sits, the oil can separate out of the mixture. Enjoy these easy and delicious ideas and recipes to use this flavorful condiment. And when you think...MORE about other ways to use this wonderful condiment, be sure to write it down so you can replicate it the next time you get a craving.

  • 01 of 05

    Spread It!

    Pesto is delicious as a spread and as a layer in any appetizer dip. It's particularly good in open-faced sandwiches. You can also spread it on any thin cut of meat or fish, then coat with bread crumbs and quickly saute.

  • 02 of 05

    Toss It!

    Pesto Meatballs with Orzo
    Pesto Meatballs with Orzo. Linda Larsen

    Pasta is a natural partner for pesto. As you toss hot cooked pasta with this flavorful sauce, the heat brings out the fabulous flavors of the basil, garlic, and cheese. All of these recipes are those I have made time and time again.

  • 03 of 05

    Stuff It!

    Baked Grilled Cheese Pesto Sandwiches. Linda Larsen

    Whether on its own or mixed with other ingredients like cream cheese or bread crumbs, pesto makes an excellent stuffing ingredient. I like to mix it with something creamy, such as mayonnaise or sour cream, before using it as a stuffing. That helps insulate the delicate ingredients from the heat and adds wonderful texture.

  • 04 of 05
    Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad. Linda Larsen

    Pesto mixed with everything from olive oil to mayonnaise makes a fabulous salad dressing, especially for pasta salads. It can be stirred into rice or mashed potatoes, or mixed into hot vegetables or a casserole made with leftover meat.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Drizzle It!

    If the pesto is too thick to drizzle, just stir in a bit more olive oil. It's the perfect finishing touch for any grilled meat or vegetable too. You can drizzle pesto over just about anything!