A jar of ready-made pesto is such a useful ingredient, but how often have you found a half-empty jar that’s gone mouldy at the back of the fridge?
But what can you do with half a jar of pesto before it goes mouldy? There’s so much more to this store-cupboard hero than just stirring through pasta. Just one spoonful can really bolster your meals, and elevate something ordinary into something a bit special. Swirl into soup before serving, add a spoonful on the side of roast chicken and salad, or dollop over your favourite lasagne. If you’ve only got a scraping left, pour a little extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar into the jar, screw on the lid and shake to make a salad dressing.
Take a look at our favourite recipes to use up pesto below, and we guarantee you’ll never waste an open jar again.
If this has got you wanting to curb your food waste, check out our feature: 10 tips for reducing food waste
Flaky pastry pesto chicken
This winning chicken recipe from 5 Ingredients is so much more than the sum of its parts. Jamie adds a spoonful of pesto to chicken breasts, wraps in shop-bought puff pastry, then bakes until the pastry is golden, and the chicken is juicy and tender. Sweet roasted tomatoes and green beans complete this quick and easy midweek meal.
Sweet tomato gnocchi
Jamie’s one-pan gnocchi recipe from ONE is the perfect midweek dinner – and switching the homemade pesto for a dollop of the jarred stuff makes it even easier! Tenderstem broccoli would work a treat here when asparagus isn’t in season.
Pesto mussels & toast
You can’t beat a bowl of steaming mussels when they’re in season, and this mussels recipe with pesto is super-quick, but looks super-impressive. A spoonful of pesto goes into the broth, and also onto the crunchy toasts on the side for a real pesto party!
Messy meatball buns
In these 5-Ingredient meatball buns, Jamie uses pesto to flavour beef mince, before forming into quick meatballs and cooking in a quick tomato sauce. Slices of melty mozzarella complete the party, with more pesto on the side for dunking. SO good.
Easiest broccoli quiche
Spoonfuls of shop-bought red pesto are layered between crisp filo pastry in this super-easy quiche recipe. Mix up the veg and pesto with what you’ve got to hand – roasted peppers, peas or asparagus would all work well.
Italian seared beef
For a fancy yet fuss-free dinner for 2, this Italian seared rump steak ticks all the boxes. Jamie elevates jarred pesto with toasted pine nuts, fresh rocket and extra Paremsan cheese. Cooks in 10 minutes, and looks impeccable.
Easy salmon en croûte
The store cupboard comes to the rescue in Jamie’s easy salmon en croûte recipe. Frozen spinach, shop-bought puff pastry and that trusty jarred pesto are the star of the show in this simplified version that’s ready in under an hour.
Rosé pesto prawn pasta
If you’ve got some red pesto to use up, this is pesto pasta like no other! Beautiful king prawns, delicate angel-hair pasta and a load of garlic turn the everyday into something sublime. A splash of rosé at the end makes all the difference.
Pizza twister bread
Gorgeous swirls of soft bread are stuffed with colourful veg, punchy olives and melty cheese, finished off with our best friend, jarred pesto. What’s not to like?!
If you’re looking for a foodie activity with the kids, these veggie tartlets are perfect for little hands. Simply roll out the dough, spread with pesto and top with a colourful selection of veg, tear over the mozzarella and bake until golden and bubbling. Easy!
Pesto on your Sunday dinner? You betcha! Jamie has freshened things up in this spring-inspired roast dinner. Tender new potatoes, peas and fresh basil are tossed with green pesto and served with beautiful, pan-seared lamb. Absolutely delicious.