Many people tend to think that pesto is only for tossing with pasta, but this fresh, garlicky sauce can be a versatile ingredient in all sorts of other dishes. While you can buy decent pesto at the store, it is one of the easiest sauces to make at home, especially in the summertime. Though the traditional herb in pesto is basil, you can always try other herbs or greens instead. Break the rules and make it with arugula, parsley, or even pumpkin seed and cilantro. Also, even avocado can lend its charms to pesto. From breakfast to appetizers to bread, here are a few smart ways to eat a lot more pesto this summer. Once you have your pesto of choice, be a little adventurous with pesto with these fun pasta-less ideas.
Mix it into dips: You can mix a little pesto in with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or even guacamole. You can also serve it over baked brie for a fancy appetizer your dinner guests will love.
Top your breakfast: Drizzle pesto over your favorite breakfast eggs to add a tasty edge of herbs and cheese. Turn waffles or pancakes into a savory breakfast fare by skipping the sugar and stirring some pesto into the batter instead.
Replace pizza sauce: Using pesto instead of tomato sauce adds an entirely different layer of flavor to homemade pizza, tarts, or galettes. Remember that pesto is rich, so use it a bit more sparingly than you would the tomato sauce.
Bake into bread: Instead of garlic bread, spread pesto onto crusty bread and toast, or stir pesto into bread dough for wonderfully fragrant dinner rolls. If you don't want to turn on the oven, just mix the pesto with some softened butter and slather on some rolls or fresh bread.
Spread on a sandwich or flatbread: Mix pesto with mayonnaise or use as is on sandwich bread or flatbread. Make a pesto schmear by mixing it with cream cheese and serving with bagels.
Mix into salad dressing: Stir this intense sauce into grain, rice, or chicken salads. Thinned with a little more oil or vinegar, you have a quick vinaigrette for summer salads. Whisk into buttermilk for an Italian version of ranch dressing.
Toss (or top) veggies: Instead of butter, use a dab of pesto to garnish your vegetables. Or skip the butter and sour cream and put pesto on a baked potato instead.
Smear on bruschetta: A smear of pesto topped with a slice of mozzarella on a slice of baguette is one of our favorite quick appetizers. Go beyond caprese flavors and top the pesto with canned tuna or white beans instead.
Sauce the meat: Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, chicken, and even fish, so you don't have to worry about spicing or marinating your meat. You can also season meatloaf or meatballs with pesto.
Garnish a soup: Soupe au pistou, a French bean and vegetable stew, is meant to be served with a drizzle of pesto over top. You can also enjoy a delicious pesto sauce with potato soup, corn chowder, and many other favorites, too.