When you think of pesto, there’s a good chance your first thought is a big bowl of green pasta. And while the fresh, fragrant sauce does taste great over noodles, there’s so much more you can do with it. Take advantage of the healthy fats and nutrients found in the sauce by adding it to sandwiches, healthyish pizzas, and your favorite proteins.
Pesto is easy enough to make at home in a blender or food processor, but if you’re really in a rush, pick up a premade version instead. No judgment here. Just look for a fresh tub over a canned version so you can skip the preservatives and maximize the health benefits.
1. Prosciutto Egg Cups With Pesto
When you get tired of your normal egg breakfast, spice things up with these prosciutto cups. They’re made in a muffin tin, but feel a little fancier than your standard egg muffins… probably because they’re wrapped in the salty meat and have a spoonful of pesto in the middle. You’ll want to eat these all week.
2. Chicken Pesto Pizza
Love homemade pizza? Give the tomato sauce a break and swap in pesto instead. It’s got so much flavor, especially since this recipe adds walnuts to the sauce. Top it with grilled chicken (or leftover rotisserie, if that’s easier) and pepper jack cheese, plus any veggies you feel like adding in.
3. Pesto Salmon and Italian Veggies
Foil-pack dinners are the BEST. Seriously, you just layer everything up, wrap it in tin foil, and you’re good to go. These salmon packs will make your kitchen smell amazing, and the cleanup is minimal. Plus, asparagus and cherry tomatoes are the perfect sides to this light, easy meal.
4. Sheet-Pan Parmesan Pesto Chicken
Our other favorite kind of meal: sheet-pan dinners. For a quick 20-minute meal, chop up chicken breasts into cubes and toss on a pan with diced potatoes, broccoli, and thinly sliced carrots. Then add a pesto, Dijon mustard, and ranch seasoning sauce to up the flavor without much effort.
5. Grilled Vegetable Quesadilla
Pro tip: When you stuff your quesadillas with tons of grilled veggies and a dollop of pesto, you can get away with using less cheese. Important, since we could always use a little help reining in our love of cheese. Grill up some onion, peppers, mushrooms, and squash and fill up on this easy lunch or dinner.
6. Broccoli Pesto Chickpea Salad
Grain bowls never get old. They’re so easy to mix and match, and leave you satisfied without the too-stuffed feeling of, say, burrito bowls. This one starts with couscous, chickpeas, and broccoli, and mixes in walnuts, capers, and pesto for a seriously bangin’ flavor.
7. Kale Pesto Portobello Mushrooms
Roasted portobellos make a great substitute for meat on a night you’re craving a burger. They’re thick and juicy and taste *amazing* when topped with a guacamole pesto sauce. Yep, guacamole pesto. It’s about time these two green power foods were combined.