Summer Flavor: 10 Ways to Use Pesto (Besides Pasta!)

A jar of basil pesto is a permanent fixture in our fridge this time of year. We love it tossed with fresh pasta, of course. But we've also found that this fresh garlicky sauce can be a versatile ingredient in all sorts of dishes! Many of these ideas are also a great way to use up just a little leftover basil!

1. Spread on Sandwiches - We'll mix a little pesto in with the mayo or spread it on our sandwich plain.

2. Instead of Pizza Sauce Using pesto instead of tomato sauce adds an entirely different layer of flavor to homemade pizza.

3. Cold Grain Salads - Try stirring a spoonful of pesto into your next batch of rice salad.

4. On Bruschetta - A smear of pesto topped with a slice of mozzarella on a slice of baguette is one of our favorite quick appetizers.

6. Made into Vinaigrette - Thinned with a little more oil or vinegar, we have a quick vinaigrette for summer salads.

7. Sauce for Grilled Meats - Pesto goes amazingly well with grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and even fish.

8. Made into Pesto Bread - Before shaping the loaf of bread, spread a little pesto on the inside. Great for dinner rolls, too!

9. Tossed with Veggies - Instead of butter, use a dab of pesto to garnish your side vegetables.

10. Garnish for Soups - Soupe au pistou, a French bean and vegetable stew, is meant to be served with a drizzle of pesto over top. We love this with potato soup, corn chowder, and many other favorites, too!

What other ways do you use pesto?

Related: Low-Fat Pesto: Can It Be As Good As the Real Thing?

(Image: Flickr member diekatrin licensed under Creative Commons)