By Emma Crist
August 30, 2016

My mom never cooked much with pesto when I was growing up, so it wasn't until high school that I discovered the glory of this Italian condiment. Needless to say, I quickly fell for the versatile ingredient--how could you not?

Whether you buy a jar at the store or whip up your own, this nut and herb-based mixture is flavor-packed, bright, and seems to have a way of making almost anything more delicious. That said, I highly recommend making your own. It's so dang easy and happens to be one of the most customizable spreads out there, so do yourself a favor and break out your food processor to make an impromptu pesto with whatever leftover herbs, nuts, and cheese you have on hand. Here's how to do it with nearly anything you have lying around your kitchen.

Now that you have your pesto in hand (I assume), I challenge you to think outside the box when using it up. Sure, it's great mixed in with hot, cooked pasta, but there are so many other options out there. Explore them.

Here are 9 places you should put pesto other than pasta:


#1. On a sandwich

Caprese Burgers



#2. On pizza

Pesto Biscuit Pizza


#3. In an appetizer

Creamy Pesto Pinwheels


#4. In chicken salad

Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches


#5. In a casserole

Baked Ziti with Turkey and Pesto


#6. Anywhere at breakfast


#7. All over your grilled chicken

Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Pesto
Buttermilk-and-Honey Chicken Kabobs


#8. Tossed with veggies

Baby Potatoes with Arugula Pesto
Pesto Green Bean Salad


#9. On top of bruschetta or crostini for an easy, satisfying snack

Avocado Crostini Two Ways
Mint and Pea Pesto on Toasted Baguette