What To Serve With Pesto Pasta

August 30, 2021
what to serve with pesto pasta

Feeling a little uninspired when it comes to what to serve with pesto pasta? 

You’re in the right place! 

This quick and easy dish is a staple for so many different households, thanks to it being super simple to throw together after a long day at work. Even better, the leftovers are absolutely delicious for dinner the next day, and can easily be packed up in a lunchbox. 

Sometimes though, you might want to add something to your plate to keep things varied, interesting, and exciting. 

After all, as delicious as it can be, pesto pasta is fairly basic and lends itself to being paired with a couple of extras to really make it sing. 

Here are some side dishes and accompaniments for you to consider making… 

what to serve with pesto pasta pin

1. Bruschetta 

Bruschetta is made by grilling a slice of crusty bread (such as baguette), rubbing it with a little garlic and olive oil, and then adding your favourite toppings. 

You can get as experimental as you like here, and it can be a great way to use up any bits and bobs that you might have in the back of your fridge. 

When paired with pesto pasta though, I like to keep things simple by just using some juicy tomatoes and teared fresh basil.

This will ensure that your bruschetta doesn’t fight for attention against your pasta, but instead complements it perfectly! 


2. Antipasto salad

Antipasto is traditionally the first course of an Italian meal, and consists of cured meats, cheese, and veggies, usually presented on a platter so everyone around the table can help themselves. 

Shake things up a little by creating an antipasto salad – just chuck everything in a big bowl with plenty of colourful vegetables like tomato and cucumber, and dress with a good quality balsamic vinegar. 

An antipasto salad takes just a few minutes to prepare, but it can really elevate your meal to the next level. 

antipasto salad

3. Roasted red peppers 

Roasted red peppers are a lovely choice for what to serve with pesto pasta, and add both colour and crunch to your plate. 

In the summer months, cook your peppers over a barbecue to get that beautifully charred look and taste. 

Of course though, if you’re short on time or you just don’t fancy firing up the barbecue, your kitchen grill will work just as well! 

You can chop up your roasted peppers and stir them through your pasta, or just serve them on the side. 

red peppers

4. Tinned tuna

It’s always a good idea to have a tin of tuna in your pantry so you can make a nutritious evening meal in hardly any time at all. 

Again, you can stir your tuna through your pasta, or just serve on the side with a good squeeze of fresh lemon. 

tinned tuna

5. Goats cheese

A portion of goats cheese is a beautiful accompaniment for pesto pasta, and the combination will likely remind you of warm summer evenings dining al fresco abroad! 

Choose the best quality cheese that you can, and serve with some freshly sliced tomatoes too. 

Never tried goats cheese before? Many consider it to be an acquired taste, so have just a little bit to start with as it has a fairly strong flavour. It’s often described as being tart and earthy. 

goats cheese

6. Tomato and mozzarella salad

You might be noticing a little bit of a trend here… Tomatoes pair so well with pesto pasta, and there’s so many different ways that you can serve them! 

One of my personal favourites is a salad made with tomatoes and mozzarella, and a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar. 

You’ll be creating some serious Mediterranean vibes, and you’ll be impressed by how much flavour just a small handful of ingredients can bring to the party. 

tomato salad

7. Roasted aubergine salad with chickpeas

Sometimes, pesto pasta is a quick meal that you throw together out of your pantry when you don’t have the time to plan anything more complex, or you haven’t had the chance to visit the supermarket. 

Other times, it’s part of an impressive banquet that you share with friends when you really want to push the boat out. 

Roasted aubergine salad with chickpeas is definitely the latter! 

It’s grown up, it’s sophisticated, and it’s the kind of side dish that everyone will remember for a long time to come, and probably request over and over again! 

roasted aubergine salad

8. Herby grilled chicken

Add a good portion of protein to your lunch or dinner by serving up some herby chicken breasts. 

When grilled, they’re super lean and full of flavour, and if you like they can be shredded with a fork and then stirred through the pasta. 

This options is fantastic if you’re planning a barbecue for friends. 

grilled chicken

9. White fish 

There are so many different varieties of delicious white fish to choose from. 

Think cod, bream, hake, halibut, and haddock, to name just a few. 

I love to serve grilled monkfish alongside pasta dishes and salads. It’s meaty, mild, and slightly sweet, and doesn’t taste at all ‘fishy’, making it popular amongst those who are perhaps a little fussier.

For the best pieces, visit your local fishmonger and don’t be scared to ask for their best recommendations when it comes to cooking. They’ll often have suggestions that wouldn’t have even crossed your mind! 

grilled fish

10. Sun-dried tomatoes 

Depending on where you live, and the time of the year, it can be difficult to get hold of really good quality tomatoes. 

If you find that you can only source pale varieties that are lacking in taste, head to the jarred produce aisle instead and select some sun-dried beauties. 

They’re usually picked when they’re at their very best, so you’ll get to enjoy that deep and rich flavour at any time of the year. 

Stir through your pasta and serve.

So quick and easy! 

sundried tomatoes

11. Corn on the cob

A corn on the cob is fun to eat, and perfect for adding to the table when you’re serving up various different picky bits. 

Once cooked, add a little bit of butter, some freshly chopped parsley, and a sprinkle of sea salt. 

It’s low in calories, rich in fibre, and a brilliant part of a balanced and nutritious diet. 

corn on the cob

12. Grilled asparagus salad

Asparagus is typically only in season for a couple of months each year, but if you can catch it when it’s at its best, it’s a real treat. 

Grill gently, and serve with some grated parmesan and some freshly squeezed lemon juice. 


13. Garlic bread

Who says that you can’t have double carbs?! 

Pasta and bread may seem like a heavy combination, but if you’re serving up modest sized portions of each, alongside some salad or veggies, it can make for a balanced meal that will ensure you’re satisfied after a long day. 

Choose from flatbread or baguette, and remember that it’s easy to make your own at home with just a handful of ingredients! 

garlic flatbread

14. A cold, crisp glass of white wine 

Pesto pasta always reminds me of summery evenings dining outside, and such occasions are always better when you have a good glass of wine in your hand! 

A dry, crisp white like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc is a fantastic pairing, or if you like bubbles, go for a cava or Prosecco. 

Save these ideas for what to serve with pesto pasta

Planning a little gathering and want to come back to these ideas another time? 

Just pin the image below to your Pinterest board! 

the best sides for pesto pasta

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