What to Serve With Pesto Pasta: Yummy and Easy to Prepare Sides

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When cooking pasta, you’ll find a huge variety of ways to dress up your plate and make it incredibly palatable with your favorite accompaniments. Pesto pasta is equally as delicious, as well as versatile, and quite a filling dish. There are many dishes that go well with pesto pasta; despite the fact that pesto pasta is pretty scrumptious when eaten on its own, there are some unmissable sides you simply must try. Let’s take a look at what to eat with pesto pasta.

Table of Contents

What Goes Well with Pesto Pasta?

  • Black Eyed Pea Salad
  • Caprese Salad
  • Arugula Salad
  • Grilled Shrimp
  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Tomato Basil Bruschetta
  • Roasted Aubergine Salad
  • Roasted Garlic Potatoes
  • Herby Grilled Chicken

Black Eyed Pea Salad

Looking for the perfect pesto pasta sides? Well, take a look at this wonderful vegan salad brimming with refreshing flavors, accompanied by a sliver of sweetness from the pesto pasta dish.

You’ll need:

  • Black-eyed peas
  • Green and red onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Peach or mango
  • Dijon mustard
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Slice or mince the green onions, red onion, pepper, and cilantro. Then cut the peach or mango into small pieces and combine everything in a large bowl. Add the black-eyed peas. Blend the Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, and sugar in a separate bowl, then slowly add dribbles of olive oil. Drizzle the dressing onto the mixture and season

Caprese Salad

From one classic Italian dish to another, a simple green salad just doesn’t cut it. Instead, serving this Caprese salad with a fresh bowl or pesto pasta makes for a brilliant addition to a classic meal. It’s simple, tasty, and incredibly easy to make. This salad consists of tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, basil, basil, olive oil, and salt. The flavors blend brilliantly together, making this an ideal meal combo.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Italian classic:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 pack of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Start by stirring your balsamic vinegar and honey together in a large saucepan placed over high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the mixture has decreased to 1/3 cup, then set it aside to cool.

Arrange slices of tomato and mozzarella on a serving plate, and add a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Tuck the basil leaves around the slices and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic reduction. Serve with pesto pasta, and enjoy!

What To Serve With Pesto Pasta: Yummy And Easy To Prepare Sides

Arugula Salad

Sometimes a light addition to your meal is the way to go, especially during those summer months when you’re looking for something quick, cool, and refreshing. Arugula salad is the perfect side dish to serve with pesto pasta; coupling these strong, robust flavors from pesto pasta with a light salad can never go south!

Feta cheese happens to go wonderfully with arugula salad, providing a scrumptious creamy texture and a brilliant earthy flavor that can never go undetected. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 5 ounces arugula
  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup large parmesan cheese shavings
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds or your choice of chopped nuts
  • 1 tbsp mild fresh herbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Begin by placing the arugula, carrots, and tomatoes in a large bowl. Then in a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Drizzle this over the arugula to moisten, then toss and combine. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese and your favorite nuts or herbs over the top. Serve immediately with an extra drizzle of salad dressing according to your preference.

Grilled Shrimp

Grilled shrimp is another perfect accompaniment to have alongside your pesto pasta, providing the much-needed crunch that complements your main dish beautifully. To make this grilled shrimp, you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of raw, peeled, and deveined large shrimp
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat the grill and dribble some oil over the grate. Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Thread the shrimp onto some skewers, then grill in batches for around 2 minutes per side, and serve alongside your pesto pasta.

What to Serve With Pesto Pasta: Yummy and Easy to Prepare Sides

Grilled Zucchini

Grilled zucchini is a simple, flavorful veggie that pairs well with herbaceous flavors like pesto. To make this impeccable side dish, you’ll need:

  • 1 medium or large zucchini
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

Start by slicing the zucchini into thick slices, placing them on a plate, then lightly brush with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides, then place these on a hot grill until they are seared on both sides. Remove them from the grill, squeeze lemon juice and serve alongside your bowl of pesto pasta.

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Another Italian appetizer that complements pasta perfectly, it’s no secret that bruschetta makes for a brilliant side dish for pesto alla genovese, providing that the extra carbs are welcomed on your palate.

A flavorful mix of ripe red tomatoes and little bursts of garlic complements your main dish terrifically. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ripe tomatoes
  • White onion
  • Fresh basil
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic
  • A baguette
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Thick balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Clean your tomatoes, remove the seeds and juice, dice and transfer to a mixing bowl. Finely chop the white onion and basil, and incorporate them with tomatoes. Mince the garlic, add it to the mix, and let it sit aside to marinate. Cut the baguette into slices and brush them lightly with olive oil, then pop them in the oven for 8 minutes till golden.

Once it’s time to serve the bread with the wonderful tomato mixture, add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and serve with your favorite pasta dish.

Roasted Aubergine Salad

This delicious recipe consisting of roasted eggplant and goat cheese might just be the best side dish you’ve ever tasted. Coupled with pesto pasta and you have a brilliant meal waiting for you. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Large eggplants
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Smoke almonds
  • Goat cheese
  • Scallions
  • Kosher salt
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Parsley leaves
  • Garlic cloves
  • Soy sauce

Cut the aubergine into cubes, place them in a large bowl, season with salt, and then set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, paprika, garlic, and cumin. Dry the aubergine cubes carefully and add them to your marinade. Spread the aubergine on a baking sheet and place it in the middle of the oven.

Roast for 40 minutes or until tender and brown, then remove them from the oven. Mix the lemon juice and soy sauce, then add the slightly cool aubergine into the bowl with parsley leaves, smoked almonds, goat cheese, and scallions.

Next time you’re wondering what goes with pesto, just remember you’ve got a decadent roasted aubergine with goat cheese side dish waiting for you.

Roasted Garlic Potatoes

The perfect match for any main dish is definitely a plate of brilliantly roasted potatoes. As such, we’re going to apply this versatile dish to our pesto pasta. Undoubtedly, garlic is the key ingredient in most dishes, and what better way to enjoy these impeccable flavors than to combine them with a common favorite side!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Butter
  • Parsley

Preheat the oven to 425F; meanwhile, peel the potatoes, cutting them into wedges. Season generously with salt, black pepper, and a dribble of olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet. Cut the top of a garlic head and place it on a piece of foil, and then alongside the potatoes.

After the potatoes have finished roasting, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Open the foil and take out the garlic, squeeze and mash it into a paste. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the previously pasted garlic, along with some parsley.

Finally, drop this garlicky sauce over your roasted potatoes. Serve with your pesto pasta, a fun little treat for your taste buds.

What To Serve With Pesto Pasta: Yummy And Easy To Prepare Sides

Herby Grilled Chicken

Incorporate a good portion of protein into your main dish of pesto pasta by serving some herby chicken breasts. Once grilled, these white meat chicken breasts provide a wonderful depth and satiation to any main meal. You can even shred them with a fork and add them to your pesto pasta for extra satisfaction.

What is Pesto Pasta?

Pesto with pasta is a pasta dish that typically consists of cooked pasta and a type of pasta sauce containing crushed basil leaves or other fresh herbs. This sauce can be made fresh at home or bought from the store, depending on how much time you have to spare.

How to Make Pesto pasta

The traditional Italian technique for cooking pasta is to add some cheese to the pasta in the water, stir and use this to cook the pasta as this creates a quick sauce for your pasta. The pasta water combined with pesto makes a thick creamy sauce.

Pasta with pesto is certainly delicious but tastes brilliant when eaten with homemade pesto sauce. Homemade pesto sauce uses the freshest ingredients, providing the best flavors, and allowing you to adjust certain elements to your liking. You can also incorporate some minced garlic to the mix and other spices to really create a delicious pesto sauce for your pasta.

Be sure to store any leftovers in the refrigerator, using airtight. Pesto pasta can become a little chewy when reheated, so it’s best to eat any leftovers cold or at room temperature.

How to Make Pesto?

  • Place 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts in a food processor with 1 tsp of fresh minced garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Pulse until finely ground, then add 3 cups of fresh whole basil leaves to the food processor with salt and pepper
  • Using the food processor on the lowest speed, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup of olive oil, then pulse until the sauce emerges smooth. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Pesto Recipe

This quick and easy recipe requires 20 minutes of your time and is for vegan pesto, plant-based, dairy-free, or gluten-free pasta. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini pasta
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, and more
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves to garnish
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Fill a pot with salted water, and ensure the pasta is cooked al dente. Then drain the pasta, keeping one cup of pasta water
  2. Place the pasta in a bowl, then stir the pasta, pesto, and 1/2 cup of pasta water, tossing the mixture using tongs until the pesto has been thoroughly combined in the mix and the pasta water forms a wonderful creamy sauce.
  3. Add some more pasta if required. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and have a taste. Serve instantly with your favorite sides.

Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

This chicken pasta, complete with gooey cheese, is another delicious pesto pasta recipe, and here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 12 ounces of short pasta
  • 1 cup refrigerated basil pesto
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • Pepper flakes
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a dash of salt to the liquid, then add the pasta
  2. In a large skillet (or pan), warm the olive oil over medium-high heat
  3. Place the chopped chicken breasts in the skillet and season with salt and pepper
  4. Cook the chicken on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Then add garlic and Italian seasoning to the pan and cook for another minute
  5. Once the pasta is al dente, drain it, and transfer the pasta into the skillet with the chicken. Add pesto and mix
  6. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and gently fold them into the pasta
  7. Sprinkle cheese, parsley, or pepper flakes on the dish, then serve

Bottom Line

Your own pesto pasta might be brilliant, but have you tried it with your favorite side dish? Choose from vibrant salads to grilled veggies, enlightening your overall dish and leaving your taste buds pleading for more!


What Does Pesto Pair Well With?

Pesto combined with olive oil or mayonnaise turns an ordinary salad into something spectacular. It is the perfect dressing for tuna, chicken, and pasta salads. It’s also especially mouth-watering when added to rice, risotto, or mashed potatoes.

What Protein Goes Well With Pesto Pasta?

Pesto pasta is absolutely delicious when served alongside grilled steak, pork chops, chicken, and even fish. You can even season your meatballs or meatloaf with pesto.

Can You Lose Weight Eating Pesto Pasta?

Since pesto pasta is made with olive oil, nuts, and cheese, classic pesto pasta can contribute to a fair amount of fat in your diet. This is a great option to have when looking to gain some muscle.