Sometimes I forget how much I appreciate pesto. Not only can the spread itself have several variations, but just a dollop of pesto can elevate the ordinary scrambled eggs or everyday turkey sandwich.  Traditional pesto calls for garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and basil; however, you can sub in different greens, nuts or cheeses.  While I use pesto in so many ways, the following five ideas are my fave:

  1. Pesto Pizza: Sub pesto in for marinara sauce. Top the pesto pizza with grilled shrimp, pine nuts, fresh arugula and pecorino cheese.
  2. Sautéed vegetables: Pump up the flavor in sautéed vegetables such as zucchini or yellow squash.
  3. Lean meat: Pesto adds both herbal flavor and juiciness to lean meats. Marinate the meat in pesto or brush on top for more intensity.
  4. Cold salads: Instead of a salad dressing, stir pesto into cold pasta salads with mozzarella balls and sliced tomatoes
  5. Condiments:  Pesto is perfection on deli turkey sandwiches.  Try adding pesto to grilled marinated portabellas/vegetable sandwiches as well!

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.