What Goes Well With Pesto Pasta

Imagine yourself sitting down to a plate of piping hot pesto pasta, the vibrant green sauce clinging to each twirl of spaghetti. As you take your first bite, the flavors explode on your taste buds, a harmonious blend of fresh basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.

But what could possibly complement this delectable dish? In this article, we will explore the perfect protein pairings, vegetable combinations, cheese toppings, herb and spice enhancements, bread and pasta side dishes, salad accompaniments, and beverage suggestions that will elevate your pesto pasta experience to new heights.

So get ready to tantalize your palate and discover what goes well with pesto pasta.

Key Takeaways

  • Protein options that complement pesto pasta include grilled chicken, sautéed shrimp, grilled steak, and roasted turkey.
  • Tofu or tempeh can be used as protein alternatives for vegetarian or vegan diets with pesto pasta.
  • Pulled pork or shredded beef can add a savory and hearty element to pesto pasta.
  • Vegetable combinations like roasted cherry tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and steamed broccoli can enhance the flavor and nutrition of pesto pasta.

Protein Pairings

Some protein pairings that go well with pesto pasta are grilled chicken and sautéed shrimp. These delicious and nutritious options add a burst of flavor and texture to your pesto pasta dish, taking it to a whole new level.

Grilled chicken is a classic choice when it comes to protein pairings with pesto pasta. The tender and juicy chicken complements the rich and vibrant flavors of the pesto sauce. The smoky char from the grill adds an extra layer of complexity to the dish. With each bite, you’ll experience a delightful combination of the creamy pesto, the succulent chicken, and the slight crunch from the pasta.

Sautéed shrimp is another excellent protein pairing that brings a delightful seafood twist to your pesto pasta. The sweet and tender shrimp perfectly harmonizes with the aromatic basil and garlic notes of the pesto sauce. The shrimp’s delicate texture adds a pleasant contrast to the smoothness of the pasta, making every mouthful a delightful experience.

Whether you choose grilled chicken or sautéed shrimp, these protein pairings will elevate your pesto pasta dish to new heights. So, go ahead and indulge in the wonderful combination of flavors that protein and pesto bring to the table.

Vegetable Combinations

Are you looking to elevate your pasta game?

In this discussion, we will explore the world of perfect pasta pairings, where delicious flavors come together to create a symphony of taste.

Get ready to discover tasty veggie medleys that will have you reaching for seconds, and prepare to be surprised by unexpected flavor combinations that will leave your taste buds dancing.

Whether you’re a pasta lover or a vegetable enthusiast, this is the place to find inspiration for your next culinary adventure.

Perfect Pasta Pairings

You’ll love the delicious combination of pesto pasta with roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh Parmesan cheese. The vibrant red of the tomatoes adds a burst of color to the plate, while their sweetness complements the rich and savory flavors of the pesto. The Parmesan cheese adds a nutty and salty note that enhances the overall taste of the dish.

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But why stop there? There are endless possibilities when it comes to pairing protein and vegetables with pesto pasta. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  • Grilled chicken: The tender and juicy chicken pairs well with the bold flavors of the pesto, adding a satisfying protein element to the dish.

  • Sautéed shrimp: The succulent shrimp brings a touch of elegance to the pasta, creating a luxurious and indulgent meal.

  • Roasted vegetables: The caramelized flavors of roasted vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant, provide a hearty and satisfying addition to the pasta.

Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite, and enjoy the mouthwatering flavors that pesto pasta can offer. Bon appétit!

Tasty Veggie Medleys

Roasted vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant add a hearty and satisfying element to veggie medleys. When it comes to vegetarian options, these colorful and flavorful veggies are the perfect addition to create delicious and creative recipes.

Imagine biting into a medley of tender and caramelized bell peppers, paired with the slightly charred zucchini and creamy eggplant. The combination of textures and flavors is simply irresistible. You can toss them with some olive oil, garlic, and your favorite herbs, or even add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for an extra burst of umami.

Whether you’re serving them as a side dish or incorporating them into a main course, roasted vegetables are a versatile and nutritious option for any vegetarian meal. Get creative and experiment with different combinations to elevate your veggie medleys to a whole new level.

Unexpected Flavor Combinations

Try mixing unexpected ingredients together to create unique and bold flavor combinations that will surprise your taste buds.

When it comes to protein alternatives, think beyond the typical tofu or tempeh. Consider using chickpeas as a protein-packed addition to your dish. Their creamy texture and nutty flavor can add depth to any recipe.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with fruit pairings either. The sweetness and acidity of fruits can complement savory dishes in unexpected ways. For example, try adding diced mango to a spicy curry or grilled peaches to a tangy salad.

The combination of flavors will create a delightful contrast that will elevate your meal to new heights. So go ahead, break the rules and unleash your creativity in the kitchen!

Cheese Toppings

Are you a cheese lover? If so, you’re in for a treat!

In this discussion, we’ll be exploring the age-old debate of Parmesan or Mozzarella as the ultimate cheese topping for your dishes.

But wait, there’s more!

We’ll also be delving into alternative cheese options that will surely tickle your taste buds.

Parmesan or Mozzarella

You can’t go wrong with either Parmesan or Mozzarella as a topping for your pesto pasta. Both cheeses bring their own unique flavors and textures that complement the vibrant flavors of the pesto.

Here are some reasons why these cheese toppings are a great choice for your pesto pasta:

  • Parmesan: This hard, aged cheese adds a rich and nutty flavor to the dish. It brings a depth of flavor that enhances the taste of the pesto. Additionally, Parmesan is a great source of protein, making it an excellent protein alternative for vegetarian or vegan diets.

  • Mozzarella: This soft and creamy cheese provides a mild and delicate flavor to the pasta. Its melty texture creates a gooey and indulgent experience. Mozzarella is also a versatile cheese, allowing you to experiment with different flavor variations by using variations like smoked or buffalo mozzarella.

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Alternative Cheese Options

If you’re looking for a different cheese option, consider trying feta or goat cheese for a unique twist on your dish. These alternatives not only add a creamy texture, but they also bring a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with pesto pasta.

Feta cheese, with its tangy and salty taste, adds a burst of flavor to your dish. It crumbles easily and melts slightly when warmed, creating a creamy consistency that complements the pesto sauce.

On the other hand, goat cheese offers a creamy and slightly tangy flavor that adds a delightful richness to your pasta. Both feta and goat cheese are also great protein alternatives for those seeking vegan options.

Herb and Spice Enhancements

Adding fresh basil or oregano to your pesto pasta really enhances the herbaceous flavors. The combination of the vibrant green pesto sauce with the aromatic herbs creates a symphony of taste that will leave you craving for more. But why stop there? Elevate your pesto pasta even further by exploring other herb and spice enhancements that complement and elevate the dish.

Here are three suggestions to take your pesto pasta to the next level:

  • Grilled Meats: Pairing your pesto pasta with succulent grilled meats, such as chicken, steak, or shrimp, adds a delightful smoky flavor to the dish. The charred edges of the grilled meats perfectly complement the fresh and zesty pesto sauce, creating a mouthwatering combination that will satisfy even the most discerning taste buds.

  • Citrus Infusions: Incorporating citrus flavors into your pesto pasta can add a refreshing twist. Squeeze some lemon or lime juice over your pasta to brighten up the flavors and give it a tangy kick. The acidity of the citrus cuts through the richness of the pesto, creating a well-balanced and invigorating dish.

  • Spice it up: For those who enjoy a hint of heat, consider adding a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper to your pesto pasta. The subtle spiciness will add depth and complexity to the dish, tantalizing your taste buds and taking your pesto pasta to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Bread and Pasta Side Dishes

Pairing your pesto pasta with a side of warm, garlic bread is the perfect accompaniment to complete your meal. The combination of the creamy pesto sauce with the crunchy bread is a match made in culinary heaven. Not only does the bread provide a satisfying crunch, but the garlic adds a savory kick that complements the flavors of the pasta.

To elevate your meal even further, consider adding a protein and vegetable to your plate. Grilled chicken or shrimp are excellent options that add a delicious protein boost to your dish. For a vegetarian twist, roasted vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or bell peppers are a colorful and nutritious addition.

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To help you visualize the possibilities, here’s a table that showcases some delicious bread and cheese options to pair with your pesto pasta:

Bread Cheese
Baguette Parmesan
Ciabatta Mozzarella
Focaccia Goat cheese

Whether you choose a crusty baguette with shaved Parmesan or a soft ciabatta with melted Mozzarella, the combination of bread and cheese will add a delightful richness to your meal. So go ahead and indulge in the perfect side dish that will take your pesto pasta to the next level.

Salad Accompaniments

For a refreshing and light option, consider tossing a crisp salad with your meal. A salad can be the perfect accompaniment to a hearty pesto pasta dish, adding a burst of freshness and contrasting textures. Here are some ideas to take your salad to the next level:

  • Homemade Dressings: Elevate your salad by making your own dressings. Try a tangy balsamic vinaigrette or a creamy avocado dressing to complement the flavors of your pesto pasta.

  • Creative Greens: While lettuce is a classic choice, don’t be afraid to experiment with different greens. Arugula adds a peppery kick, spinach brings a mild sweetness, and kale provides a hearty crunch.

  • Pesto Variations: If you’re a fan of pesto, why not incorporate it into your salad as well? Whip up a pesto dressing by blending together basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Drizzle this vibrant dressing over your salad for a burst of herby goodness.

Beverage Suggestions

When it comes to a refreshing beverage, you might want to consider a crisp white wine or a light and tangy lemonade to accompany your delicious bowl of pesto pasta. These beverage options will perfectly complement the flavors of the pesto sauce and enhance your dining experience.

If you prefer an alcoholic option, a crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would be an excellent choice. The citrus and herbaceous notes of these wines will harmonize with the basil and garlic flavors in the pesto. The acidity of the wine will also help cleanse your palate between bites, ensuring that every mouthful of pasta is as enjoyable as the last.

For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, a light and tangy lemonade would be a fantastic pairing. The zesty lemon flavor will provide a refreshing contrast to the rich and creamy pesto sauce. You can also add a sprig of fresh basil or a slice of lemon to your lemonade for an extra burst of flavor.

In addition to these suggestions, you can also explore cocktail pairings with pesto pasta. A classic cocktail like a Gin and Tonic or a Mojito can be a great accompaniment, as the botanicals and herbs in the cocktails will complement the flavors of the pesto. If you prefer a non-alcoholic cocktail, you can try a mocktail version of a Mojito or a Virgin Mary, which would be equally refreshing.


So there you have it, folks! After exploring all the delicious options to pair with pesto pasta, you now have the power to create the ultimate culinary masterpiece.

Whether you choose to add some juicy grilled chicken or toss in some vibrant roasted vegetables, the possibilities are endless. And don’t forget to sprinkle on some tangy Parmesan cheese and a pinch of fragrant basil for that extra burst of flavor.

So go forth, my fellow food enthusiasts, and let your taste buds dance with delight as you indulge in the perfect pesto pasta creation.

Bon appétit!