Finding what meat goes with pesto pasta best can be tricky.
The bold flavors of pesto can easily overpower more delicate meats, so choosing something that can stand up to the sauce is essential.
The meat you choose will have a bold enough flavor to stand up to the pesto but won’t overpower the dish.
Pesto pasta is a great way to enjoy a hearty, flavorful meal without spending hours in the kitchen.
So, next time you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner, don’t forget about pesto pasta!
Today we’ll be talking about how to serve these meats with pesto pasta.
The best proteins to pair with pesto pasta include chicken, ground beef, shrimp, tuna, salmon, pork chops, and bacon.
List of What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta
Below you will find the most straightforward methods for preparing your meat for pesto pasta.
Let’s start with chicken. Chicken is an excellent option because it’s versatile and easy to cook.
One of the best ways to cook a piece of chicken or a ground chicken for pesto pasta is to grill it. This gives the chicken a nice smoky flavor that goes well with the pesto.
If you don’t have a grill, you can pan-fry the chicken or air-fry it. Just be sure to cook it until it’s golden brown.
Once the chicken is cooked, slice it into strips and toss it on top of the pasta.
Ground beef is another great option for pesto pasta. It’s packed with flavor and relatively easy to cook.
Try marinating it in beef bone broth the night before for even more flavor. One of the best ways to cook ground beef is to brown it in a pan on the stove.
Note: You can even make meatballs using ground beef and pesto!
Shrimp is a great seafood option for pesto pasta. It’s light and delicate, so it won’t overpower the dish.
You can either grill or sauté shrimp for pesto pasta. If you’re grilling shrimp, be sure not to overcook it.
Shrimp cooks in just a few minutes, so it’s easy to overcook it on the grill. Cook it until it’s pink and opaque.
If you’re sauteing shrimp, add a little oil to the pan and cook the shrimp on medium heat until it’s pink and opaque.
Tuna is an acquired taste for some. However, it can be an option for pesto pasta. It’s a hearty fish that has a bold flavor.
Tuna is best when seared on the outside and pink in the center.
To sear tuna, add a little oil to the pan and cook it for about 1-2 minutes per side.
If you prefer your tuna well done, pop it in the oven after searing for about 15 minutes.
Tuna can be served on the side of the pasta. In many cases, it's easier to eat that way due to its size.
Salmon is a rich and flavorful fish that pairs well with the bold flavors of the pesto.
Salmon is best when it’s cooked until it’s flaky and tender.
To cook salmon, add a little oil to the pan and cook it for about 3-5 minutes per side on medium-high heat.
Tip: Sprinkle it with lemon or lime juice before adding it to the pasta for extra flavor.
If you like pork chops, they can pair effortlessly with pesto pasta. Pork chops can be seasoned to taste savory and slightly sweet.
Not to mention, frying gives them a succulent and juicy texture. One can fry their pork chops with or without coating.
Without coating, the chops will brown on the outside. If you prefer a crunchy texture, add the coating.
Bacon is probably the easiest meat option for pesto pasta. It’s a rich and flavorful meat that pairs well with the bold flavors of the pesto.
Bacon is best when cooked until it’s crisp and golden brown.
To cook bacon, add it to a pan and cook it over medium heat until it’s crisp and golden brown, flipping it every 2-3 minutes.
Crumble the bacon so that you’ll taste it in every bite.
Tips To Adding Flavor to the Meat
Now that you know what meat to serve with pesto pasta, let’s talk about how to make the flavor unforgettable.
Marinating the meat before cooking it will help to add flavor.
Add the meat to a ziplock bag with some pesto or flavors of your choosing, and let it marinate for a few hours or overnight.
Lemon, lime, and garlic tend to pair well with pesto.
Adding a little spice to the dish can help to boost the flavor.
You can either add some red pepper flakes to the dish or even add them to your marinade.
Adding fresh herbs to the dish can help to brighten up the flavor. Try adding some basil, oregano, or thyme to the pasta.
The herbs also add to the presentation of the dish.
Use a Different Type of Cheese
If you want to change up the dish’s flavor, try using a different kind of cheese.
Feta, goat cheese, and Parmesan all pair well with pesto.
Adding vegetables to the dish can help to boost the flavor and provide more much-needed nutrients. Try adding some grilled or roasted vegetables to the pasta.
Zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers all pair well with pesto.
Pesto pasta is a delicious and easy-to-make dish on any day for any occasion.
It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a casual dinner party.
Note: The best part about pesto pasta is that it's versatile and can be made with almost any type of meat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about pesto pasta.
Is Pesto Pasta Healthy?
Pesto pasta can be a healthy dish if you choose the right ingredients.
Not to mention, it’s high in mono and polyunsaturated fats that tend to have good effects on heart health.
Opt for whole-wheat pasta and use lean meats like chicken or shrimp.
If you're looking for a lighter option, try using pesto made with olive oil instead of butter.
How to Prepare Pesto Pasta?
Pesto pasta is a quick and easy dish to make. Just cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto sauce.
You can use store-bought pesto or create your own. There are so many types of pesto, and the one you choose will depend on your personal preferences.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto sauce.
Mix in parmesan cheese to taste. After adding the protein, top with more Parmesan.
Serve alongside garlic bread to round out the meal. If you are a true die-hard pesto lover, you can spread it on your toast as well.
Pesto pasta is a delicious and easy-to-make dish, the best part is now you know what meat goes with pesto pasta!
It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a casual dinner party.
The best part about pesto pasta is that it’s versatile, and you can choose what meat goes with pesto pasta and easily customize it to your liking.
Just choose your favorite meat and vegetables, and you’re good to go! As you can see, many different types of meat go well with pesto pasta.
So, next time you're looking for an easy weeknight dinner to wow your guests or just to treat yourself to something filling and savory, go for the pesto pasta.
Pesto pasta is a great way to enjoy a hearty, flavorful meal without spending hours in the kitchen. It’s a beautiful dish that can be made in 20 minutes or less.
It’s the easiest and cheapest dish you can make at home that will look and taste like an expensive restaurant dish.