What To Do With Leftover Pesto: A Few Easy Ideas


If you read or made my recipe for vegan pesto from my previous post about salmon and pasta you may know that there will be quite a bit of pesto left over.  Fresh pesto should never, ever go to waste.  It is such a versatile little add-in, making it a great ingredient to have on hand.  It adds a fresh, savory burst to all kinds of recipes. And, a little bit usually goes a long way.  I have two recipes for you in which I used the left over pesto, plus I’ll throw in some other ideas of ways to use this fresh herb concoction.

The first recipe is Pesto Shrimp and Couscous.  I love couscous! It’s one of those blank slate items that pretty much accepts anything you want to put with it.  From yellow curry powder, golden raisins and toasted almonds to shrimp, bell pepper, tomato and spinach. Couscous is a starch that is always ready for whatever you have on hand.  And now that I typed it, I think I should probably start whipping up a recipe for that curry couscous as well because it’s another great and easy dish I haven’t made in a while 🙂  Just an FYI: My favorite blank slate buddies are couscous, brown rice and quinoa. Those 3 items should always be in your pantry for creating easy dinners.

The second recipe, which is pretty self explanatory, is a Pesto Veggie Wrap. Great for lunch or dinner. Wraps are the perfect vessel for all of the veggies that should be hanging out in your refrigerator on a daily basis.  Pesto is always great to add into any mix of sauteed or fresh veggies.  A side note idea on things to pack for lunch: WRAPS! Take your own healthy wraps with you to work. Fold it up in foil and it will be waiting patiently for you to take your break.  (I am also in the process of coming up with some more great portable lunch ideas so be standing by on a post for that soon!)


Pesto Shrimp and Couscous

Makes 2 servings

12 large shrimp

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 of a bell pepper, sliced thin

1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 in. rounds

1 medium tomato, diced

2 tbsp. pesto

1 c. couscous, prepared with 1c. vegetable broth

1/4 c. vegetable broth for deglazing

2 handfuls of spinach

Extra virgin olive oil


Have your couscous cooked according to package instructions and standing by. Heat oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Saute garlic, carrot, and bell pepper just until tender, about 5 minutes (season with S&P). Add tomato and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Add shrimp and vegetable broth (Season with S&P). Cook about 3-4 minutes, just until shrimp become opaque.  Please do not over cook.  They should just turn pink and still be tender. Toss with pesto.  Place fresh spinach in the bottom of a bowl. Add a nice heap of couscous. Cover with shrimp and veggies.  Enjoy.

© 2011 Jenni Baker



Pesto Veggie Wrap

Makes 1 wrap

1 piece celery, sliced

4-5 slices red bell pepper

1 red potato, diced

3 baby carrots, sliced into rounds

1 tbsp. diced onion

2-3 tbsp. vegetable broth

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tbsp. pesto

Small handful of spinach

1 large tortilla

Light mayo and sriracha, optional

Heat a small drizzle of oil in a small pan over medium high heat.  Add all veggies to pan and saute for 5-6 minutes (Season with S&P).  Add vegetable broth and cover.  This will help steam the potatoes. Continue to saute adding more broth if necessary to prevent sticking.  Cook until potatoes are nice and tender. Toss with pesto.  Mix a couple teaspoons of mayo and sriracha, if using.  Spread evenly over tortilla.  Add veggies and top with fresh spinach.  Wrap it up and enjoy!


Other pesto ideas: Make a homemade pizza or flat bread and use pesto as your sauce, mix into scrambled eggs, add to creamy pasta sauce, use it as a dip for veggies or crackers, add to soups and salads as a tasty garnish, use it on chicken or fish, spread it on your sandwich either by itself or mixed with a little mayo.  Be creative!

And if by now you are totally “pestoed out” always remember it freezes very well! Freeze single use portions in mini plastic containers or in an ice cube tray and thaw out as you need it.

© 2011 Jenni Baker


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