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Not sure how to use up a jar of pesto? I’ve rounded up a collection of dietitian-designed healthy recipes using pesto! Here you’ll find everything from pesto pastas, seafood with pesto, along with vegetarian dinner ideas. Plus, I’ve included 4 unique pesto sauce recipes if you want to make pesto from scratch.

Graphic for a roundup of healthy recipes with pesto.

In this post you’ll find a collection of recipes for homemade pesto sauce along with a handful of healthy recipes using pesto! For any of these recipe ideas, you can use either the homemade pesto recipes OR use a store-bought jar of pesto to keep things even more simple.

Pesto pairs SO well with many dishes. Famously, pesto is great with pasta, but it’s also fabulous paired with different varieties of seafood, meat, eggs, vegetables, and grains.

Keep scrolling or click on the following sections to find what you’re looking for:

  1. pesto nutrition benefits
  2. pesto pasta recipes
  3. seafood recipes with pesto
  4. vegetarian recipes with pesto
  5. unique pesto sauce recipes

Pesto Nutrition Benefits

While pesto sauce itself can be made from a variety of ingredients, most commonly pesto will be a good source of:

  • heart healthy fats, thanks to ingredients like olive oil, nuts, and seeds that are usually found in pesto
  • greens, like basil (most commonly), but pesto can also be made with greens like spinach, kale, or arugula
  • antioxidants

TIP: Pesto can also be a source of omega-3s, if you make it with walnuts or hemp seeds in place of traditional pine nuts!

Pesto Pasta Recipes

Pasta is the most common way to use pesto! Check out these yummy pesto pasta recipes below for some new ideas 🙂

1) Pesto Linguine Pasta With Shrimp

Overhead photo of a white bowl filled with pesto linguine pasta, arugula, and sautéed shrimp.
This basil-walnut pesto pasta recipe is made with linguine noodles, fresh arugula, and sautéed shrimp (both fresh and frozen shrimp work well). It’s a simple, healthy, 30-minute pasta dinner that’s packed with good-for-you ingredients.
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2) Baked Penne Pesto Pasta

Baked penne pesto pasta in a baking dish.
This 6-ingredient, oven-baked penne pesto pasta is an easy and cozy vegetarian dinner idea. Pasta is tossed with broccoli, cremini mushrooms, and pesto sauce, topped with shredded cheese, and baked in the oven until the cheese is melted, browned, and delicious!
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3) Pesto Orzo With Artichokes & Shrimp

Overhead photo of a bowl of pesto orzo topped with artichokes and shrimp.
This fresh and easy pesto orzo bowl is made with shrimp, lemon, artichokes, and basil. A delicious, 9-ingredient and 30-minute dinner packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber-filled veggies! Recipe is dairy-free and can be made gluten-free.
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4) Tuna Pesto Pasta Salad

overhead shot of large white bowl with tuna pasta salad, pesto, cherry tomatoes and gold spoons
This Tuna Pasta Salad With Pesto is an easy, healthy make-ahead lunch idea. It's made with protein-packed canned tuna and a dairy-free hemp seed pesto. Simple, delicious, and ready in 30 minutes!
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Seafood With Pesto

Seafood and pesto is a wonderful pairing. Below you’ll find some ways to use pesto with salmon, white fish, scallops, and shrimp. Feel free to use the homemade pesto recipes listed in the recipe cards OR simply swap with a store-bought jar of pesto.

5) Baked Salmon With Pesto

easy baked salmon topped with pistachio pesto
This easy oven-baked salmon recipe is topped with a tasty dairy-free pistachio pesto. A simple, healthy weeknight dinner ready in 25 minutes!
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6) Seared Scallops With Corn & Pesto

overhead shot of white bowl with bed of corn and cherry tomatoes topped with seared scallops and pesto
These pan-seared scallops with sautéed corn, cherry tomatoes, and dairy-free pesto tastes luxurious, but is SO easy to make! Option to serve with pasta.
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7) Baked Pesto Cod

Baked pesto cod on a plate of quinoa.
This oven-baked pesto cod recipe is such an easy, healthy, and tasty dinner idea. It's packed with protein and healthy fats. All you need are 6 simple ingredients and 30-minutes to make it, too!
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8) Spaghetti Squash With Pesto & Shrimp

overhead photo of two halves of roasted spaghetti squash topped with pesto and shrimp on a parchment-linked baking sheet
This healthy spaghetti squash recipe is served with a kale miso pesto and sautéed shrimp. It's dairy-free, gluten-free, and high in fibre and protein. All you need is 10 ingredients!
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Vegetarian Pesto Recipes

Prefer a vegetarian meal? I love pesto paired with potatoes, pizza, and grain bowls! Again, you can use a jar of store-bought pesto in place of any of the homemade pesto recipes included below.

9) Smashed Potatoes With Pesto

crispy red smashed potatoes topped with pesto on baking sheet
Meet your new favourite side dish. These smashed potatoes are crispy and smothered in a delicious hemp seed pesto! Recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
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10) Pesto Quinoa Bowl

pesto quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes, broccoli, hard boiled egg, pecans
This Pesto Quinoa Bowl is packed with nutritious and tasty ingredients! It's great for meal prep or as a packed lunch. Recipe is gluten-free, with vegan option available.
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11) Pesto Potato Hash Skillet

black skillet with pesto potato hash topped with fried eggs
This pesto potato hash skillet with eggs and veggies is such an easy, healthy meal that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
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12) Pesto Hummus

Pesto hummus recipe served in a bowl with crackers.
Ready in 15-minutes, this pesto hummus is made with either store-bought or homemade basil pesto, canned chickpeas, tahini, and fresh lemon. Serve it as a dip, spread, pasta sauce, or add to grain bowls – there are so many ways you can enjoy this easy and nutritious recipe!
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13) Roasted Broccoli Pesto Pizza

homemade pizza with roasted broccoli, pesto, lemons, goat cheese crumbles, and almonds on cutting board
Pizza night, anyone? This homemade pizza is packed with good-for-you ingredients like hemp seed pesto, broccoli, almonds, goat cheese, and lemons. Top with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for added goodness. Option to make this dairy-free and vegan by omitting the goat cheese – add an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast instead!
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Unique Pesto Sauce Recipes

Don’t want to use a store-bought pesto sauce? Check out these different variations of homemade pesto sauce below. They can be used with pasta or any of the other recipes ideas you find in this roundup!

14) Creamy Ricotta Pesto

Ricotta pesto served in a white bowl.
This creamy homemade ricotta pesto recipe pairs perfectly with pasta, proteins, or veggies! It's quick, easy, nutritious, and tastes amazing.
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15) Sun-Dried Tomato Red Pesto

Overhead photo of a white bowl filled with red pesto spaghetti.
With sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, this vegan red pesto sauce is easy and delicious! Serve it with pasta, or use it as a dip or a spread. Easily made with or without nuts.
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16) Creamy Zucchini Pesto

Overhead photo of creamy vegan zucchini pesto in a small grey bowl.
This quick 20-minute zucchini pesto sauce recipe is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious. Raw, grated zucchini and fresh basil give this healthy homemade pesto sauce such a fresh taste and a generous serving of veggies in every bite. Serve it with pasta, grain bowls, as a spread, dip, and more!
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17) Vegan Hemp Seed Pesto

white bowl with homemade pesto and spoon
This homemade vegan hemp seed pesto is nutrient-dense and can be whipped up in just minutes! Recipe is nut, dairy, and gluten-free.
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18) Pesto Salad Dressing (Vinaigrette)

Pesto salad dressing stored in a glass jar.
This basil pesto salad dressing is a healthy and delicious take on a creamy vinaigrette! Ready in 10 minutes, you can use this recipe to add flavour to green salads, pasta salads, or grain bowls!
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More Recipe Roundups:

Did you give any of these Recipes With Pesto a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

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Get the Recipe: Healthy Recipes With Pesto: Shrimp & Pesto Linguine Pasta

This basil-walnut pesto linguine pasta recipe is paired with shrimp and arugula. Simple, nutritious, and ready in 30 minutes! Recipe is dairy-free and can easily be made gluten-free. Plus more healthy pesto recipes!
Overhead photo of a white bowl filled with pesto linguine pasta, arugula, and sautéed shrimp.
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Ingredients

  • Approx. 16 large shrimp
  • Approx. 112 grams linguine, dry (almost 4 ounces; enough for 2)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 large handfuls baby arugula

Basil Walnut Pesto

Instructions

  • If using frozen shrimp, begin by thawing shrimp by placing them in a colander and running cold water over them.
  • While shrimp thaws, make pesto by placing all pesto ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until the pesto sauce forms. If desired, you can thin the pesto out a bit by adding a tiny bit of water or extra olive oil. Adjust seasonings to taste and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil (for pasta). While water boils, remove tails, shells, and veins from shrimp. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Add shrimp to a large bowl with 1 Tbsp olive oil and garlic powder. Toss until shrimp are well-coated.
  • Once water boils, add linguine and cook according to package instructions (about 7-9 minutes).
  • While pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium-high. Cook shrimp for 1-2 minutes each side, until opaque. Remove from heat.
  • Drain pasta and return to pot. Add pesto and arugula, and stir everything together until well-coated with pesto.
  • Serve pasta in bowls and top with shrimp. Option to top with cracked pepper, a sprinkle of fresh basil, and nutritional yeast or parmesan (if not dairy-free)!

Notes

*STORAGE: Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for about 3 days. To reheat recipe, add pasta to a large pot/saucepan and warm on low heat, stirring constantly. Alternatively, you can quickly reheat this in the microwave. Add a splash of olive oil if things have dried out.
*RECIPE MODIFICATIONS: there are many ways you can modify this recipe to suit your tastes and dietary preferences. Below are some ideas!
  • Feel free to use a different pasta shape in place of linguine. This recipe would truly work well with every pasta shape – long or small!
  • If you’d like to add in more veggies, feel free to throw in ones like cherry tomatoes, sautéed zucchini (or zoodles), broccoli, etc. You can even switch up the arugula with a different leafy green, like baby spinach or kale.
  • This recipe can be easily be made gluten-free by choosing a gluten-free pasta.
  • The original recipe is dairy-free, but you can always choose to top with freshly-grated parmesan and/or swap the nutritional yeast in the pesto with parmesan.
  • If you wish to make this recipe completely vegan, simply omit the shrimp and serve alongside a plant-based protein.
  • On that note, you can try serving this pasta with another animal protein source, like seared scallops, baked salmon, or grilled chicken in place of shrimp.
  • For a nut-free version, simply swap the walnuts with a seed like hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  • Finally, feel free to use store-bought pesto if you feel like it!

Nutrition

As a dietitian, I create recipes with whole food ingredients that provide the nutrients needed for optimal health. My nutrition philosophy does not focus on numbers; however, I understand that this information can be helpful.

Do note that the nutrition info provided is an estimate and I cannot guarantee correctness of the displayed values. These numbers will differ depending on brands used, recipe modifications, and amount eaten. If you require specific nutrition information due to medical reasons, please consult with your dietitian or physician.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.