What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

by Violet
What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

Pasta is a classic Italian dish that can be made with virtually any type of meat. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the best meats to pair with pesto pasta. Pesto is a sauce made from fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. It’s perfect for topping pasta or spreading on bread. So, what meat goes with pesto pasta? Let’s take a look!

What Is Pesto Pasta?

Pesto pasta is a traditional Italian dish made with fresh pesto sauce, cooked pasta, and usually some form of protein such as chicken, beef, or seafood. It’s a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of pesto without overwhelming the palate.

What Is A Pesto Pasta Sauce Made Of?

Pesto pasta sauce is usually made with fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Depending on the recipe, other ingredients like anchovies or lemon juice may be added for flavor.

What Does It Taste Like?

Pesto pasta has a fresh flavor with hints of garlic and Parmesan. The basil gives it a slight sweetness, while the pine nuts add an earthy crunch.

What Is So Special About It?

Pesto pasta is special because it combines the classic Italian flavors of basil, olive oil, Parmesan and pine nuts in a delicious way. It’s also easy to make and can be customized with your own favorite toppings or ingredients.

What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

What Is Pesto Pasta? – Liliana Kitchen

What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

A variety of meats can be used to make a pesto pasta dish. Chicken, beef, and seafood are all popular choices. For a more unique flavor, you can also consider using duck or lamb. Be sure to season the meat of your choice with salt and pepper before adding it to the pasta.

1. Chicken

Chicken is a classic choice for pesto pasta. It is versatile, and flavorful, and pairs nicely with the other flavors in the dish. For added flavor, try marinating your chicken before you cook it.

2. Duck Breast

Duck breast is a great option for pesto pasta. The rich flavor of the duck works well with the creamy pesto sauce, and it also adds some extra texture to the dish.

3. Turkey

If you’re bored of the classic basil pesto pasta, why not try making it with turkey? It is mild in flavor and pairs well with the pesto sauce. Adding diced vegetables to this dish will enhance the flavor.

4. Beef

If you’re not a fan of chicken, beef is another great option to pair with pesto pasta. Ground beef or steak can be cooked quickly and adds depth of flavor to the dish.

5. Steak

Pesto pasta is delicious with steak. The rich taste of the steak pairs ideally with basil and Parmesan in pesto sauce. Add some extra seasoning to the meat before cooking for an even more scrumptious meal.

6. Lamb

If you want a strong, bold flavor in your pesto pasta, consider using lamb. It is juicy and flavorful when cooked correctly and pairs well with the nutty flavor in pesto.

7. Pork

Pork is another great option to combine with pesto pasta. The pork dish will taste slightly sweet because of the natural flavors of the ingredients, and they’ll all balance each other out nicely. Be sure to cook the pork properly before adding it in so that it is fully cooked by the time you serve it.

8. Ham

The distinct, smoky taste of ham perfectly compliments the nutty flavor of pesto sauce in this dish.

9. Tuna

If you want a healthier option for pesto pasta, try using tuna instead of the traditional chicken or beef. The tuna will provide a subtle flavor and a pleasant, flaky texture to the pasta.

10. Veal

Veal is a leaner, more tender type of meat than chicken or beef. It works great in pesto pasta and absorbs the flavors of the pesto sauce nicely. If you’re looking for a richer taste, try using ground veal instead of the traditional pieces.

11. Crab

If you want to try something a little different, consider using crab as a protein in your pesto pasta. The sweetness of the crab stands out against the nutty flavor of the pesto sauce, creating a perfect combination.

12. Shrimp

Seafood is a great way to add an additional layer of flavor to your pesto pasta. Shrimp, scallops, or salmon can all be cooked quickly and will provide a bold flavor to the dish. Shrimp adds a unique flavor to your pesto pasta. It cooks quickly and pairs wonderfully with the classic basil, Parmesan and pine nut flavors in pesto sauce.

13. Lobster

In case you are looking for a luxurious addition to your pesto pasta, consider using lobster. The meat is creamy and incredibly flavorful, and the delicate sweetness pairs perfectly with the pesto sauce.

What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

How To Pick The Right Kind Of Meat To Use In Your Pesto Pasta?

Picking the perfect meat to use in your pesto pasta is not always be an easy choice for everyone. However, there are some key factors for you to take notice of when preparing this treat:

Decide If You Want A Light Meal Or A Hearty Meal

When choosing the right kind of meat to use in your pesto pasta, consider the flavor profile you want. Some meats are more flavorful than others. If you’re looking for a lighter meal, go with something like chicken or tuna. In case you are after a heartier dish, opt for beef or pork.

Consider The Flavor Of The Meat

It is also important to consider your own favorite toppings or ingredients. Do you really like the bold flavor of beef? Then go for it! If you’re more of a fan of seafood, try using shrimp or crab. By taking into account the flavor of the meats you use, you’ll be able to create a dish that suits your taste buds.

Consider The Texture Of The Meat

You also have to think about the texture, as that will also influence how your pesto pasta turns out. Assuming that you want something a bit more tender, try using veal or lamb. Otherwise, for something a bit more firm and chewy, go for tuna or pork.

Consider The Cooking Time

Lastly, consider the cooking time for each meat. Some meats take longer to cook than others, so if you are short on time, go for a leaner and quicker-cooking meat.

What Kind Of Pasta Are You Using?

Finally, determine the type of pasta you want to use. Pesto pasta can be made with any type of noodle, from penne to rigatoni, so make sure you choose the one that best suits your taste.

How Much Time Do You Have?

Take into account the time you have on hand to prepare your pesto pasta. Depending on the type of meat used, some will take longer to cook than others. If you’re short on time, choose leaner meat that won’t take too long to cook. As a general rule, seafood and chicken will take the least amount of time to cook.

What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

How To Pick The Right Kind Of Meat To Use In Your Pesto Pasta?

How To Make Chicken Pesto Pasta?

With all of the information provided in the previous part of the post, each type of meat has its own distinctive ways to shine when they are in the combination with pesto pasta. But for me, most of the time, chicken pesto pasta is surely the most enjoyable dish out there, besides with various meat all along! So what about considering making it?

What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?

Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

Serves: 6 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 425 calories 19 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons pesto sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces of your favorite pasta
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish


  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling and start cooking your pasta according to the package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the chicken cubes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the chicken has cooked, add the pesto sauce and stir to combine.
  5. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the chicken and pesto sauce. Mix to combine, adding a bit of the pasta cooking liquid if needed.
  6. Add the cherry tomatoes and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes more, until everything is hot and well combined.
  7. Serve the pesto pasta topped with Parmesan cheese, if desired.


  • This dish can also be made with any kind of ground meat, such as beef, pork or turkey.
  • Feel free to use store-bought pesto sauce or homemade.
  • For a vegan version of this dish, replace the chicken with tofu and use vegan pesto.
  • You can also use any kind of pasta you like.
  • Add other vegetables, such as mushrooms or bell peppers, for a more colorful dish!
  • You can also substitute the Parmesan cheese with vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe

  • Calories: 425
  • Total Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.5 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 75 mg
  • Sodium: 570 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 39 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugars; 3 g
  • Protein; 25 g
  • Vitamin D: 15 mcg
  • Calcium: 40 mg
  • Iron: 2 mg
  • Potassium: 395 mg

>> Ready for the creaminess of the chicken pesto pasta yet? Bet you did! Here is a simple tutorial for you:

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FAQs For “What Meat Goes With Pesto Pasta?”

What meats does pesto go with?

Pesto goes well with all kinds of meats, such as chicken, beef, pork, lamb, veal, and seafood. The type of meat you choose will depend on how tender or firm you want it to be and how much time you have to cook it.

What goes well with pesto pasta?

Pesto pasta is great with a variety of vegetables, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, and tomatoes. You can also add some cheese, such as Parmesan or mozzarella, for extra flavor.

What kind of protein goes with pesto pasta?

Some options for protein include seafood (like crab, shrimp, or tuna) chicken, beef, pork, and lamb. These are the most plentiful source of protein that you can put into your meal.

What do Italians eat with pesto pasta?

In Italy, pesto pasta is usually served with fresh vegetables like tomatoes and bell peppers. You can also add some cheese, such as Parmesan or mozzarella, for extra flavor. For a more filling experience, add some grilled chicken or seafood to your stir fry.

Is pesto good with meat?

Yes, pesto is a great way to add flavor and richness to all kinds of meat dishes. Pesto works especially well with chicken, beef, veal, pork, and lamb. You can use it as a marinade or add it to the pan during cooking for an extra punch of flavor.


Pesto pasta is a delightfully flavorful and easy dish that can be enjoyed with various types of meat. Chicken, beef, pork, or seafood are all great options to add protein and flavor to this dish. You can also customize it with whatever vegetables or cheese you desire. With so much versatility, this dish is sure to become a family favorite!

And as the footnote, Liliana Kitchen really appreciated your meaningful time spent on our blogs if you have made it this far till the end of the topic. There is no better way to express our gratitude to you – the beloved reader, by wishing you a great moment of reading and thank you so much for your support!

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