Credit: Artur Rutkowski via Unspalsh

Five ways to use pesto that aren’t pasta

By Yang Yang Cao

Bored with pesto? Writer Yang Yang Cao explores different ways this delicious sauce can be used.

Pesto pasta, that universal student staple. However, it goes without saying that no one can handle eating it day in, day out and week after week. Fortunately this tasty Italian sauce (made from pine nuts, basil, parmesan, olive oil, and garlic) packs a real punch, and it can do so much more than simply be smeared across dry penne. Here are 5 other quick and simple ways of using sunshiny pesto to get you through this wintery semester and beyond.

  1. In a sandwich 

Spread a generous layer of pesto on whatever kind of bread you want – currently I am loving fresh Lidl bloomer – and layer tomato and mozzarella slices on top; toast or grill if you’re feeling fancy. Why not experiment and mix up the toppings? Avocado, spinach, prosciutto or anchovies all work well to elevate your on-campus lunch.

  1. On pizza 

Instead of using a traditional tomato sauce on a pizza try spreading a mixture of olive oil and pesto. Cover with your choice of toppings: I particularly like cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and sweet peppers with fresh basil and parmesan sprinkled over. Bake until the dough is golden-brown. 

  1. In soup 

Swirl pesto into a bowl of steaming minestrone or creamy tomato soup and top liberally with parmesan. Serve it alongside crusty brown bread or garlic flatbread for a super-comforting lunch or dinner. 

  1. Fried eggs

Pesto eggs went viral on the internet recently and it’s not hard to imagine why. Simply use pesto instead of butter to fry the eggs in and voilà, you have a hearty and delightful take on an otherwise simple meal. 

  1. In a tart 

Spread a jar of pesto on top of a sheet of puff pastry before topping with tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken slices, courgettes, or whatever you fancy. Bake until the pastry rises into hot golden-brown goodness.

Next time you buy pesto during your grocery shop, think outside the box (or jar) – you’ll be surprised at just how versatile this sauce can be. It is deliciously capable of going with most ordinary meals and making them extraordinary: the breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and all the in-betweens. The number of meal variations you can whip up at any time of day is simply dazzling. Even with just a few teaspoons of pesto, come autumn into winter you definitely won’t ever be bored.


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