When your basil plants are prolific and you wind up with a plethora of pesto, it's time to find other uses for it in addition to pasta dishes. Likewise, if a pesto-lover in your household is gluten-sensitive or on a carb-restricted diet, it's helpful to have other ways to enjoy the pleasures of pesto. Here are five pasta-free ideas for using basil pesto, or any other type of pesto for that matter:
1. Blend into softened cream cheese to create a zesty spread for sandwiches, bagels, celery and other veggies--I like to slice summer squash lengthwise to create veggie "flatbread," and halve carrots lengthwise for a flat surface
2. Stir a Tablespoon or more into a pound of ground meat for Italian burgers
3. Use a butter knife to gently loosen the skin off raw chicken and spread pesto underneath prior to roasting, grilling, broiling or otherwise cooking the chicken
4. Stir some pesto into whipped butter--the real stuff, not margarine--to use as a topping for broiled or steamed fish, grilled steak or pork chops, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and other cooked vegetables
5. Mix into cooked brown rice to serve as a flavorful side dish or to stuff bell peppers
Do you have a favorite way to enjoy pesto that doesn't involve pasta? Please share by leaving a comment here.
PS: If you love rosemary and especially if you have a rosemary bush that seems to grow faster than you can keep up with, here's my recipe for Rosemary Pesto.