The Best Foods to Pair With Pesto


The basic ingredients of any good pesto sauce are garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil and grated hard cheese. It is common practice to mix in a bit of parsley to tone down the basil, and if doing so, it is recommended that you mix half the amount of parsley per the amount of basil. Finding good food to go with your pesto is as crucial as the ingredients you put into it. Heavy Italian foods are consistently a good recommendation, but also consider a lighter fare such as a bruschetta appetizer or with fresh mozzarella. For the best results, no matter what food you pair with pesto, be sure to use the best ingredients when making to guarantee quality taste.


  • Fettuccine can be a light healthy dish if you substitute the Alfredo sauce for a light pesto mix. Consider spring flavors such as asparagus or pine nuts to make it a dish, but to make it a meal consider adding shrimp to the mix. The pesto will compliment the asparagus while the shrimp keeps the meal simple enough to not worry about a lot of prep work. The cheese you use with you pesto will ultimately bring out the best flavors of the pasta so be sure to use high quality Italian hard cheeses.

Penne Pasta

  • Wheat penne pasta with Parmesan pesto is a healthier alternative to heavier pasta dishes. Add in strips of blackened chicken breast with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes together to produce a mouthwatering recipe. Penne "al dente," or cooked firm but not hard, adds a chewy texture to the dish. Adding stir fried vegetables such as broccoli or bell peppers contribute depth to the plate.


  • French baguettes will naturally go well with pesto dip. By broiling the baguette, thus getting a crisp but not burnt outer layer, it becomes the perfect dipping bread. Bruschetta would certainly be incomplete without fresh tomatoes, a dash of feta crumples and a glass of smoky red wine to compliment the crunchy texture of the baguette. For a healthier alternative with a bit more taste, use whole grain baguettes and dice a few garlic cloves.


  • Pesto and mozzarella are delicious in their own special way together, but try something different, like a BLT. Sliced heirloom tomatoes, apple wood smoked turkey bacon, a hearty mozzarella slice topped with a layer of pesto all on a toasted wheat roll sounds like the sandwich that can make anyone's day. Don't forget the light mayonnaise and Romaine lettuce to make it a true BLT.

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