This post is sponsored by Kroger. If you are looking for an EASY appetizer for the holidays, a family potluck, or any special occasion, I have the perfect recipe for you, Pesto Parmesan Cheese Straws. This is a no-fuss, no-stress recipe, which makes it…
This post is sponsored by Kroger. If you are looking for an EASY appetizer for the holidays, a family potluck, or any special occasion, I have the perfect recipe for you, Pesto Parmesan Cheese Straws. This is a no-fuss, no-stress recipe, which makes it perfect for serving at parties. The cheesy twists are easy to…
These pesto meatball melts are a satisfying weeknight meal! Pesto turkey meatballs on a toasty baguette with lots of cheese. Delish! Have a ton of garden basil hanging around? I’ve got you covered! These pesto meatball melts make for the most satisfying weeknight meal. They are super versatile and a great way to utilize some […]
These pesto meatball melts are a satisfying weeknight meal! Pesto turkey meatballs on a toasty baguette with lots of cheese. Delish!
Have a ton of garden basil hanging around? I’ve got you covered!
These pesto meatball melts make for the most satisfying weeknight meal. They are super versatile and a great way to utilize some pesto you may have at the end of the summer season!
This is one of those meals that I *thought* would be good, but didn’t realize just HOW good it would be until I started making it regularly.
Oh my word.
We LOVE this dish. It’s so flavorful and a different way to enjoy meatballs.
I got the idea of the melt from my french onion meatballs. Love serving those on top of sourdough. I didn’t want to make a full blown meatball sub with these, but I knew I wanted to do something cheesy and sandwichy.
Sandwichy. I guess that’s a word now.
So meatball melts were born!
I like using sliced baguettes here, but of course you could use toast or even a bun if it’s what you have on hand. And my preference is to use ground turkey, but of course you can use ground chicken or beef too!
I love adding the pesto to meatballs because it’s like the pesto is working overtime for you. The pesto is already loaded with basil and garlic and parmesan. Adding that to the meatballs means it’s almost all we have to add – no need for a ton of stuff! I do this in my mini pesto meatball soup and it’s perfect.
After testing these a few times, I decided that I do like a little extra parmesan. I know, shocking. But other than that, it’s really just the pesto, some breadcrumbs and eggs to bring it all together. So super simple and such a great way to use up basil from the garden or another kind of pesto you may have.
I love making fresh pesto – I make a batch almost every single week. I also will freeze it at the end of the summer season so I always have it on hand. However! If you’re in a pinch and want to bring a flavorful meal together, you can always use your favorite store-bought pesto. It really is that easy.
So back to the melts.
I like to spread pesto on the baguette too. Yes, if you haven’t figured this out by now, it is for pesto lovers! Top pesto-covered baguettes with meatballs, top with cheese and throw in the oven for a few minutes.
This is heavenly!
You can serve them for dinner, of course. You could also make them a game day snack by slicing the baguette into bite-size squares and topping with just one meatball. So like little meatball melt squares. Really the options are endless.
They’re warm and cheesy and toasty and so hearty. We love ’em! (more…)
Pesto has been a champion ingredient in my kitchen for a while. Although it is a slightly more expensive item, a little bit goes a long way toward adding flavor to a meal. This Pesto Cheese Toast is a super simple treat that can be served as a party appetizer, a side with dinner, or […]
Pesto has been a champion ingredient in my kitchen for a while. Although it is a slightly more expensive item, a little bit goes a long way toward adding flavor to a meal. This Pesto Cheese Toast is a super simple treat that can be served as a party appetizer, a side with dinner, or even just a little snack. It’s kind of like garlic bread‘s fancier cousin. ;)
Originally posted 3-1-2010, updated 9-8-2021.
What Kind of Pesto to Use
That’s the great thing about this tasty toast, you can use any kind of pesto you have or whatever you like best. You can use a basil pesto, a sun dried tomato pesto, a kale pesto, any kind! Today I’m using a Genovese pesto, which is a creamy basil style pesto. Other good affordable pesto brands that I like are Felipo Berio, Classico, and Alessi.
What Kind of Bread to Use
This recipe works great on any French or Italian loaf bread. You can slice the bread into traditional slices, like in the photos here, or slice the loaf in half length-wise, then slice the halved bread into slices like in my Homemade Garlic Bread recipe. It just depends on the bread to topping ratio that you prefer. If you want to get a little creative, you could also basically turn this into a pesto pizza by using small pieces of naan or English muffins instead.
What to Serve with Pesto Cheese Toast
Pesto cheese toast makes a great alternative to garlic bread with any pasta dish, but it’s also great served alongside a bowl of tomato soup. These cheesy little toasts also make a great party appetizer! You can even serve it with a bowl of warm marinara for dipping. But perhaps my favorite way to serve this is with a fried or scrambled egg for breakfast. You just can’t beat that egg-pesto-tomato combo!!
Pesto Cheese Toast
Pesto cheese toast is an easy and delicious alternative to garlic bread. It's great for a party appetizer, snack, or side with dinner!
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice a loaf of French or Italian bread into ½-inch thick slices.
Place the slices of bread on the prepared baking sheet and spread ½ Tbps over each piece.
Slice the Roma tomato into 8 slices, then top each piece of bread with two slices of tomato.
Finally, add a large pinch of shredded mozzarella to each piece of bread.
Bake the toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the toast is brown and crispy on the edges. Baking time may vary depending on your oven and the type of bread chosen, so keep an eye on them. Serve warm!
I think spaghetti squash is a very underrated vegetable. It is one of my favorites and I think everyone needs to love it too, ha! It’s nutritious, delicious, and easy to make. It’s also a good substitute for pasta if you are eating gluten-f…
I think spaghetti squash is a very underrated vegetable. It is one of my favorites and I think everyone needs to love it too, ha! It’s nutritious, delicious, and easy to make. It’s also a good substitute for pasta if you are eating gluten-free or limiting carbs. If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, I strongly…
Summer Pasta Salad Who is ready for summer? Both of my hands are raised. Our boys are currently working on our summer bucket list and they have come up with some fun ideas. It is going to be a busy summer, but I don’t mind being busy if it is all…
Summer Pasta Salad Who is ready for summer? Both of my hands are raised. Our boys are currently working on our summer bucket list and they have come up with some fun ideas. It is going to be a busy summer, but I don’t mind being busy if it is all fun. Of course, we…
I love quick fixes because I am busy and if something takes me more than 15-30 minutes to prepare, chances are I’m not going to do it, especially if it’s not my day off. So this Pesto Chickpea Salad was the perfect answer to lunch this week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, […]
I love quick fixes because I am busy and if something takes me more than 15-30 minutes to prepare, chances are I’m not going to do it, especially if it’s not my day off. So this Pesto Chickpea Salad was the perfect answer to lunch this week. It only takes about 10 minutes to make, it’s so creamy and delicious, and you can eat it a number of ways. Everything about this chickpea salad is my style!
Originally posted 12-5-2012, updated 6-3-2021.
How to Serve Pesto Chickpea Salad
This super simple chickpea salad can be enjoyed several ways. You can serve it as an appetizer with crackers for dipping, like in the photo above, it can be a side dish with dinner, or you can use it as a filling for a sandwich (toasted whole grain bread, a hearty bun, or in a wrap). …Or, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself just digging into the bowl with a fork. ;)
What Kind of Pesto is Best?
There are a lot of different types of pesto on the market, offering a little something for everyone. If you’re looking for the most budget-friendly, ALDI makes a super affordable basil pesto that I use in a lot of recipes. Today I happened to be shopping at a different store, so I went with Filippo Berio Classic Pesto, which was still pretty affordable and it had a really incredible flavor. Barilla also makes a very affordable pesto. And since pesto is the main flavor in this recipe, you definitely want to go with a pesto that you know you like.
How Long Does the Salad Keep?
This Pesto Chickpea Salad will stay good in the refrigerator for about four days, making it great for meal prep!
Soak Your Onions for a Softer Flavor
If you’re sensitive to red onions, here’s a trick that will make life so much more enjoyable. Soak your sliced onions in cold water for about five minutes before adding them to your recipe. The water pulls out that super sharp flavor, leaving a nice mild hint of red onion that will flavor your dish without hurting your stomach. :)
Pesto Chickpea Salad
This creamy and tangy Pesto Chickpea Salad is a quick and easy lunch. Enjoy with crackers, on a sandwich, or on top of a bed of greens.
Total Cost $3.14 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10minutes
Total Time 10minutes
Servings 4¾ cup each
Author Beth - Budget Bytes
1/8tspfreshly cracked pepper$0.01
Stir together the mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, and pepper in a bowl.
Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Roughly chop the parsley. Finely dice the red onions (soak the red onions in cold water for 5 minutes for a milder onion flavor). Add the chickpeas, parsley, and onion to a large bowl.
Pour the dressing over the chickpeas, parsley, and onion. Stir to combine. Serve as is or slightly mash the chickpeas for a thicker consistency. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
How to Make Pesto Chickpea Salad – Step By Step Photos
Start by making the creamy pesto dressing. In a bowl, stir together ¼ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup basil pesto, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper.
Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of chickpeas, then place them in a bowl. Roughly chop about 1/4 cup fresh parsley. Finely dice about ¼ cup red onion (soak for 5 minutes in cold water if you want a milder onion flavor).
Add the dressing and stir to combine. You can either serve the salad just like this, or…
Or you can slightly mash the chickpeas in the bowl to make it hold together a little more like a potato salad. You can use a potato masher to do this, or just mash some of the beans with a fork against the side of the bowl.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat!
A leavened, enriched dough is the perfect starting point to get creative in the kitchen. Of course, baking the dough straight away without any embellishment would be delicious enough—think brioche!—but it’s also a foundation that can be taken in myriad…
A leavened, enriched dough is the perfect starting point to get creative in the kitchen. Of course, baking the dough straight away without any embellishment would be delicious enough—think brioche!—but it’s also a foundation that can be taken in myriad directions. I’ve folded, braided, cut, twisted, balled, laminated, and now knotted the basic dough, each yielding a completely different result. And the final shape isn’t simply an aesthetic affectation. It also serves to modify the final eating experience. In some cases, like with these savory pesto knots, it is a way to trap a delicious filling between layers of the tender, buttery dough.
Why twist and knot the dough?
When baking, the structure and shape of the treat is almost as important as the ingredients and process. Take, for example, a baguette, with its long and slender shape, compared to something like a boule, which is round and hefty. The smaller diameter of the former results in bread that bakes faster, as the oven’s heat penetrates through the dough in less time, resulting in a thin, crispy crust—the hallmark of a good baguette. Conversely, a round boule takes longer to bake due to its increased diameter and thickness, meaning the crust ends up thicker and heartier.
Are you ready for this? Because I wasn’t quite ready for how easy and delicious this meal was. When I sat down to eat my first bowl of these Pesto Chicken and Vegetables I was like, “Oh yes, I’m going to make this every single week.” It’s the perfect light, flavorful, and fast recipe for meal prep. And it’s just SO SIMPLE.
I used a summery mix of yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, green beans, and red onion for this quick sauté, but there are a lot of options when it comes to the vegetables. Here are some other vegetables you could add:
The key thing to keep in mind when using different vegetables is when to add them to the skillet. For this recipe you don’t want to fully cook the vegetables. They should be just tender-crisp. So, keeping that in mind, add sturdy vegetables first and tender vegetables later to make sure they don’t get overcooked.
Can I Substitute the Chicken?
Yes, there are options for that, too! I think shrimp would be absolutely awesome in this recipe, as would tofu. If using tofu, I would do a cornstarch coating and fry it separately (see the technique used in this recipe) before tossing it together with the vegetables and pesto at the end.
How to Serve Pesto Chicken and Vegetables
I ate this dish as-is, just a bowl of flavorful chicken and vegetables. But there are more options! You could eat this over a bowl of rice, stir in some cooked orzo or quinoa, or even add them to a bed of greens. Honestly, I would probably even add them to a flat bread and top with mozzarella as a sort of vegetable pizza!
How Long Does it Stay Good?
I got about four days out of my pesto chicken and vegetables, but this can vary depending on the conditions in your refrigerator, freshness of the ingredients, and how long you cook the vegetables. As I mentioned above, you want to barely cook the vegetables for this recipe. Just make them tender-crisp so they don’t get too wilted. Not only does this give them great texture and a fresh, bright flavor, but they last a little longer in the fridge, too.
Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables
This Easy Pesto Chicken and Vegetables meal prep is super fast and easy, and holds up well in the fridge for tasty lunches all week!
Chop the bell pepper, yellow squash, and zucchini, and slice the red onion. I like to make different shapes for each vegetable, but aim to make the pieces all around the same size.
Cube the chicken breasts into ½-inch pieces.
Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once the skillet and oil are very hot, add the chicken and sauté until the chicken pieces are opaque (3-5 minutes – the chicken will continue to cook as you add vegetables).
Add the green beans to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or just until thawed.
Add the bell pepper and red onion to the skillet. Sauté for 1-2 minutes more. If water is beginning to pool in the skillet, turn the heat up slightly. It should be hot enough that the water released from the vegetables evaporates quickly.
Add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet and continue to sauté 2-3 minutes more, or just until the squash softens slightly.
Turn the heat off, add the pesto to the skillet, and stir until everything is coated. Give the vegetables a taste and add salt, pepper, or more pesto if desired. Top with a light sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving.
*You may need more or less pesto, salt, pepper, or Parmesan depending on the volume of your vegetables and your personal taste.
How to Make Pesto Chicken and Vegetables – Step by Step Photos
Chop the vegetables first so they’re ready to go. Chop one red bell pepper, one yellow squash, one zucchini, slice ½ of one red onion and measure 1 cup frozen green beans. I like to do different shapes for the vegetables, but aim to keep them roughly the same size.
Cut 1.3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast into ½-inch pieces.
Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Once very hot, add the cubed chicken and sauté just until the chicken is opaque (3-5 minutes – it will continue to cook as you add more vegetables). Next, add the frozen green beans and sauté for a couple of minutes more, or just until thawed.
Next add the bell pepper and red onion. Continue to sauté a couple of minutes more. If you see water pooling in the skillet, turn the heat up higher. The heat should be high enough that any moisture released by the vegetables evaporates quickly.
Finally, add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet. Sauté just a couple of minutes more, or just until the raw edge is taken off the squash.
Turn the heat off. Add about ⅓ cup pesto to the skillet and stir until everything is coated.
Give the vegetables a taste and add salt, pepper, or more pesto if needed (I added a pinch of each).
Top with a light sprinkle of Parmesan just before serving.
I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick […]
I bought a little jar of pesto recently and have been having fun finding ways to add it to everyday recipes. Yesterday I noticed a half bag of macaroni that had been sitting in my pantry for a few months and I just knew it was begging for the pesto treatment. So, I whipped up a quick béchamel sauce, stirred in some grated Parmesan, and a good dollop of pesto. I poured the luxurious sauce over my cooked macaroni then aded couple handfuls of thawed frozen spinach (because I’m all about balance), and had myself the most delicious and creamy pesto mac and cheese.
Originally posted 3-8-2016, updated 4-26-2021.
What Kind of Pesto is Best?
I used a simple basil pesto, but the wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is very flexible. You could do a homemade Kale Pesto, you could do a sun-dried tomato pesto, or practically any flavor pesto that you’d like.
How to Use Leftover Pesto
Pesto is definitely an expensive ingredient, but it’s so potent that you really don’t need a lot to add big flavor to your recipes. The little jar I bought contains about 3/4 cup pesto and costs $3.99. I usually only use about ¼ cup at a time in a recipe, so there is always some leftover. Here are some other recipes that use pesto:
If you can’t find uses for your leftovers immediately, pesto can be frozen. A lot of people like to spoon it into ice cube trays so they can grab a couple tablespoons at a time to toss into recipes like pasta, salad dressings, and other sauces.
What Else Can I Add to Pesto Mac and Cheese?
You can really take this recipe so many different directions! Try adding a handful of sun dried tomatoes, or maybe some chopped up rotisserie chicken. Or try topping it with some crumbled feta, bacon bits, or some buttered breadcrumbs!
Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach
A simple creamy sauce infused with basil pesto makes this Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with spinach the ultimate comfort food WITH a dose of vegetables!
Thaw the spinach at room temperature or in the microwave. Squeeze out the excess water. Set the spinach aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the macaroni. Boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender. Drain the macaroni in a colander.
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the sauce. Add the butter and flour to a small sauce pot. Heat and stir the butter and flour over medium heat until it forms a creamy paste and begins to bubble. Continue to stir and cook for about one minute more.
Whisk the milk into the butter and flour, then allow it to come up to a simmer, while whisking. When it reaches a simmer, the sauce will thicken. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Whisk the Parmesan and pesto into the sauce until smooth. This will further thicken the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Make sure the sauce is well seasoned as the flavors will be less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in.
Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot (heat turned off) and add the thawed spinach. Pour the sauce over top, then stir until everything is combined and coated in sauce. Serve immediately.
How to Make Pesto Mac and Cheese – Step by Step Photos
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the macaroni. Once boiling, add two cups of macaroni and continue to boil until tender but not mushy. Drain the pasta in a colander.
While the macaroni is boiling, thaw 1/2 lb. spinach and then squeeze out some of the excess water. It doesn’t have to be bone-dry, just make sure it’s not sopping wet.
Place 2 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp flour into a small sauce pot. Heat them over a medium flame while whisking. Once bubbling, continue to stir and cook for about a minute. This mixture is called a roux (this is a blonde roux, in particular) and is used to thicken the sauce. Cooking it for a minute or so slightly toasts the flour so that you don’t have that raw paste-like flavor to your sauce.
Whisk in two cups of whole milk. Let the mixture come to a simmer, whisking occasionally to make sure the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
Once the milk starts simmering, that’s when the roux magic happens. The milk will thicken slightly. It won’t be as thick as a cheese sauce at this point, but it should have noticeably more body. Turn the heat off.
Whisk in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. The cheese will help thicken the sauce even more.
Then whisk in 1/4 cup basil pesto.
Finally, season the sauce with salt and freshly cracked pepper. You want the sauce to be pretty heavily seasoned because it will taste less concentrated once the pasta and spinach are stirred in. I used 1/2 tsp salt and about 5-10 cranks of a pepper mill.
Return the cooked and drained pasta to the large pot it was cooked in, add the thawed and squeezed spinach, then pour the creamy sauce over top.
Then stir all that creamy pesto goodness together. Oh my.
I’ll just say it one more time, then leave it there… Creamy Pesto Mac and Cheese with Spinach–OH MY.