Pesto is one of our favorite sauces for vegetables because it’s so versatile—you can use it on so many different vegetables!
But if you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got 17 vegetables that go well with pesto in this article.
So, what vegetables go well with pesto?
The best vegetables to go with pesto are those that are strong enough to stand up to the flavor of the pesto. Broccoli and asparagus are two of the most popular options, but if you’re looking for a vegetable that isn’t as popular but will be just as delicious, try adding some kale!
For more ideas, keep scrolling!
17 Vegetables that Go Well with Pesto
There are a LOT of veggies that go well with pesto.
Don’t believe us?
Take a look at this list of 17 delicious flavorsome veggies that are sure to become your new favorite thing:
Whether you’re making traditional pesto or a modern version, asparagus is a perfect match for basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
It also pairs nicely with garlic and olive oil, so if you’re going for a more traditional approach to your recipe, this is the vegetable for you!
Artichokes are rich in antioxidants and fiber—and they’re super versatile.
You can boil them whole or cut them up into bite-sized pieces; either way they’ll bring an earthy sweetness to any dish they’re added too!
3. Broccoli and Bell peppers
Broccoli, bell peppers, and pesto are an incredible combination.
The broccoli is a great neutral base for the sauce to rest on, and the bell peppers add a subtle sweetness that really complements the rich flavor of pesto.
- To make this dish, first trim your broccoli into bite-size florets (you can also cut them into small trees), then chop up some bell peppers and thinly slice some onions.
- Next, cook the broccoli in a skillet with some olive oil and salt until it’s bright green and tender-crisp—about 5 minutes total.
- While it’s cooking, sauté the onion in another skillet with more olive oil until it’s soft and translucent—about 4 minutes—then add the peppers and cook for another 2 minutes until they start to soften.
- Finally, add your pesto to both skillets at once and stir until everything is coated evenly with sauce.
- Serve warm over rice or pasta!
4. Cherry tomatoes
Add these colorful little orbs to your pesto right at the end of cooking, after you’ve added in the cheese.
They’ll release some of their juices into your sauce as they cook and add just a hint of sweetness that will balance out the flavors of your dish.
You can add cucumbers to your pesto raw before serving it or cooked after adding in all of your ingredients (we recommend doing it raw).
The crunchy texture of cucumber is great for balancing out creamy sauces like this one!
Eggplant is a classic vegetable in the Italian cuisine, but it’s also something you can use to add a little bit of savory flavor to your pesto.
You can roast or grill eggplant, then use it as a topping for your pesto pasta or as an addition to your tomato sauce.
Mushrooms are another classic ingredient in many Italian recipes, and they’re also ideal for pairing with traditional pesto.
For example, try combining mushrooms with salt and pepper for a delicious addition to pasta or pizza!
Spinach goes well with pesto because it provides a complementary flavor to the salty cheese and nuts in the sauce.
You can use spinach in place of basil for a nice twist on traditional pesto!
Carrots are sweet root veggies that are typically eaten raw or cooked into soups, stews, casseroles, and more.
The sweetness of carrots pairs nicely with the saltiness of cheese in pesto to make a delicious sauce that goes well on fish or chicken dishes!
Onion is a vegetable that goes well with pesto because it adds a ton of flavor, while at the same time not overpowering or competing with the other flavors in the pesto.
- To make onion pair well with pesto, first peel and finely chop the onion.
- Then heat up some oil in a pan and add the chopped onion to it.
- Cook them until they are soft and translucent, but not browned.
- Once they are cooked, add them to your pesto mixture and stir until incorporated.
Celery is another vegetable that goes well with pesto because of its light flavor and crunchy texture.
It’s also very easy to incorporate into your pesto recipe!
- First, chop up some celery into bite-sized pieces, then sauté them in some oil over medium heat until they are tender but still crunchy—about 5 minutes should do it!
- After cooking them for 5 minutes (or so), add them to your pesto mixture and stir until combined.
12. Green Beans
If you’re making a pasta or pizza dish with pesto as one of the toppings or sauces, go ahead and throw some green beans (See Also: what to do with a can of green beans) into the mix!
They’ll add some freshness to an otherwise heavy meal, but also some color contrast to make your plate look gorgeous—and who doesn’t love green beans?
To cook them:
- Steam or boil until tender-crisp.
- Season with salt to taste and squeeze lemon juice over them before serving.
Cauliflower is an awesome choice if you want something that’s going to soak up all that flavor from your sauce.
You can roast it until it’s soft, or even grate it so that it becomes part of your pesto sauce!
14. Cabbage (green or red)
Cabbage is a vegetable that goes well with pesto because it has a similar flavor profile to the sauce.
It’s earthy and herbal, with mild bitterness that complements the pesto’s boldness.
You can use green or red cabbage for this recipe—both are equally delicious when paired with pesto!
- To make this dish, slice your cabbage into thin strips, then sauté them in a pan until they’re just tender but still have a bit of crunch.
- Add them to your favorite pasta and top with some pine nuts and pesto sauce!
If you’ve never tried beets with pesto before, we highly recommend it!
Their earthy flavor pairs perfectly with the bright herbiness of the basil, while adding some sweetness to counterbalance the salty nuts and cheese.
- To prepare them for pesto-ing, just wash your beets thoroughly and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they’re soft enough to cut through easily (about 45 minutes).
- Then use a knife to cut off their tops and bottoms before slicing into quarters or eighths vertically so you can remove any remaining leaves inside of them—this will give you neat wedges for serving!
16. Brussels sprouts
This vegetable is one that doesn’t get much love in the kitchen—but we think it deserves some!
- To make your own version of this underrated veggie, roast brussels sprouts at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes until they’re golden brown on top and tender inside.
- After roasting, chop them up into small pieces and add them to a food processor along with some olive oil and salt for about 30 seconds or so until it reaches the desired consistency (we recommend blending until smooth).
To prepare kale, we recommend washing it thoroughly, then removing the stalks and slicing it into thin ribbons.
You can then sauté the kale in olive oil until cooked but still bright green (about 3-5 minutes).
Once cooked, you can add the kale to your pesto and toss it together so that it’s evenly distributed throughout.
17 Vegetables that Go Well with Pesto
- Broccoli and Bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green Beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Pick your favorite veg from this list to use in your pesto recipe.
- Prepare the rest of your pesto.
- Be ready to munch in no time!