11 Ways to Use Store-Bought Pesto (That Don't Involve Pasta)

You’re going to want to stock up on this staple.

Condiments like ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, and hot sauce typically get all of the love and attention, but now we're here to make a case for pesto. You've likely encountered the Italian staple in pasta dishes, and maybe even some interesting takes on pizza, but the green sauce can do much more than liven up a bowl of noodles or a slab of pizza dough. In fact, used correctly, pesto can elevate anything from oven-baked fish to scrambled eggs.

Another thing we love about pesto is that you can make it yourself (and even tailor your homemade version so it matches your dietary preferences). Or, if you're tight on time, you can use a jar of the store-bought stuff that tastes just as good. A third option, which will likely come in handy during the winter months when fresh basil may be trickier to come by, is to make a big batch of pesto and stick it in your freezer for later use. Believe it or not, the frozen condiment will stay fresh for up to six months.

Pesto Nutrition Benefits

What's more? Unlike some condiments that are packed with sugar (we see you, ketchup) or loaded with sodium (sorry, soy sauce), pesto is relatively healthy. In its purest form, traditional pesto is a combination of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese, olive oil, and salt. Given that it's packed with a majority of healthy fats from plants and nuts, pesto can have heart health benefits.

Additionally, its high basil, olive oil, and nut content also means it's loaded with antioxidants, which can safeguard your cells from oxidative damage. This can lead to healthier skin, a reduction in inflammation, and more. And while some store-bought pesto sauces may be heavy on the oil and cheese, even most of those varieties are healthier than you think.

How to Use Store-Bought Pesto

Keep reading to find out all the ways in which you can use pesto to add flavor to meals and stay healthy.

01 of 11

Pesto Tuna Sandwiches

Roasted Red Peppers and Basil Tuna Sandwich
Kana Okada

Use canned tuna packed in water, some store-bought pesto, and any sandwich bread of your choice to throw together a cafe-quality sandwich in about five minutes. If you need a quick and easy upgrade from your sad desk lunch, this is it.

RELATED: 10 Most Sustainable Types of Seafood, According to the Seafood Watch

02 of 11

Chicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches

Chicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches
A piadina is an Italian sandwich typically made on flatbread, but here, hot, crispy pizza dough stands in for flatbread, creating a delicious new classic. Tucked inside these piadinas is fresh mozzarella, baby arugula, and pesto-tossed rotisserie chicken. The pesto here is homemade, but if you’re tight on prep time, store bought will work well, too. Get the recipeChicken-Pesto Flatbread Sandwiches . Caitlin Bensel

Give pesto a chance and it will shine on just about any sandwich. Here, the condiment coats some leftover rotisserie chicken, which is then tucked inside a flatbread made of frozen pizza dough along with mozzarella and baby arugula. While this pesto is homemade, store-bought stuff will work just as well.

03 of 11

Deep-Dish Pizza With Turkey Sausage and Brussels Sprouts

Deep-Dish Pizza with Turkey Sausage and Brussels Sprouts
Marcus Nilsson

As pesto fans may know, the savory green condiment works well on just about any pizza, but it really steals the spotlight with this deep-dish take. Given there's no tomato sauce to speak of, the pesto is able to compliment the turkey sausage, thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, and shredded provolone cheese all on its own.

04 of 11

Chickpea, Vegetable, and Pesto Soup

Chickpea, Vegetable, and Pesto Soup
Paul Sirisalee

This meat-free soup swaps out noodles for, well, plenty of veggies—including carrots, celery, and chickpeas. Believe it or not, this soup's savory tomato base pairs well with a dollop of store-bought pesto on top. If you're looking to cut back on dairy, opt for a pesto made without cheese for a completely dairy-free meal.

05 of 11

Potato, Pea, and Pesto Fish Packets

Potato, Pea, and Pesto Fish Packets
Johnny Miller

Cooking fish in parchment paper helps steam the fish, which yields especially juicy and tender results. Here, a piece of fish—be it salmon, cod, or bass—is cooked alongside potatoes and peas, and everything is topped with flavorful pesto once the fish is finished.

RELATED: How to Cook Salmon

06 of 11

Chicken With Pesto Potatoes

Chicken With Pesto Potatoes
Kana Okada

Pesto pulls double-duty here, as it is used (along with mayonnaise) to marinade chicken and add some flavor to boiled potatoes. This balanced dish, which is ready in 35 minutes, works great as an easy weeknight dinner.

07 of 11

Quinoa With Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto

Quinoa With Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Pesto
Anna Williams

If you're struggling to use up a bunch of leftovers before they're too far gone, make a grain bowl with a starch, some veggies, and whatever else you have lying around. This grain bowl, which is packed with a bunch of scrumptious staples, gets an added flavor boost from a few teaspoons of store-bought pesto.

08 of 11

Three-Bean Chili With Spring Pesto

Two bowls of three-bean chili with spring pesto are served along side crusty bread.
James Merrell

This spring pesto is made with fresh garlic, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil, salt, and pepper, but a store-bought version works well too. In this instance, the light but still savory pesto compliments the vegetable and bean-filled chili.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Make Your Chili Healthier

09 of 11

Chia Pilaf With Pesto

Chia Pilaf With Pesto Recipe
Alison Miksch

Rice is a solid side for just about anything, and this pilaf is in a league of its own. While it's still easy to make, it's elevated thanks to protein-rich chia seeds, chicken broth, and prepared pesto. Serve it alongside roasted chicken, seared steak, poached salmon, or whatever else you're in the mood for.

10 of 11

Chicken Cutlets With Chickpea and Pesto Salad

Chicken Cutlets With Chickpeas and Pesto Salad
Quentin Bacon

There are pretty much endless ways you can make (and enjoy) chicken cutlets. Here, the breaded dinnertime staple is paired with a healthy chickpea and radish salad that's been tossed in store-bought pesto and fresh lemon juice.

11 of 11

Scrambled Eggs With Beans, Tomatoes, and Pesto

Scrambled Eggs With Beans, Tomatoes, and Pesto
Eggs, those protein superstars, are the foundation of this tasty, fiber-rich meal. Enjoy a healthy dose of vitamin C, lycopene, potassium, and folate, courtesy of the tomatoes. Get the recipe. Con Poulos

If you've been on TikTok recently, you know that pesto eggs are having a moment. While these eggs aren't cooked in pesto like that viral dish, they are served with a hefty helping of the store-bought stuff as well as grape tomatoes and white beans.

RELATED: 9 Ways to Use Chickpeas (That Don't Involve Hummus)

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