What Meat Goes with Pesto Pasta? 5+ Choices

One of the most popular dishes around is pesto pasta with meat. It is simple to make and can be paired with various types of meat.

What meat goes well with pesto pasta? Here are some of the popular pairings:

  • Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Pesto Shrimp Pasta Salad
  • Ground Beef Skillet Pasta with Pesto and Ricotta
  • And many more.

In this blog post, we will discuss it so that you can create the perfect meal for your family or guests!

pesto sauce
Pesto sauce. Credit: canva

What Meat Goes with Pesto Pasta?

There are many different types of meat. You can also use beef, pork, or lamb.


Chicken breast is lean and has a mild flavor that pairs well with the creamy pesto sauce.

  • Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad
  • One-Pot Chicken
  • Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta and Broccoli
  • Baked Chicken Meatballs with Broccoli


  • Shrimp with Broccoli
  • Pesto Shrimp Pasta Salad
  • One-Pot Shrimp
pesto pasta with chicken
Pesto pasta with chicken. Credit: canva


  • Sausage with Peppers
  • Pesto Sausage Pasta Salad
  • One-Pot Sausage

Beef, Pork, and Lamb

  • Beef with Mushrooms
  • Pork Salad
  • Lamb with Feta Cheese
  • Pesto Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Ground Beef Skillet Pasta with Pesto and Ricotta
  • Strip Steak
  • Creamy Pesto Fusilli with Beef
  • Bolognese
pesto spaghetti with salmon
Pesto Spaghetti with salmon. Credit: canva


The best types of fish for the pairings are white fish, such as cod, halibut, tilapia, and salmon. They are perfect because they do not have a strong flavor that will compete with the pesto sauce.

  • Tilapia
  • Salmon
  • Cod
  • Pesto Cod Pasta Salad
  • Halibut
  • Salmon Bake

How to Choose the Right Meat

There are a few things to consider.

  • Decide if you want a light meal or a hearty meal. You need to decide if you want a light or hearty meal.
  • Consider the flavor of the meat.
  • Consider the texture of the meat. Beef, pork, and lamb are all tough meats with a chewy texture.
  • Consider the cooking time. Chicken and shrimp are quick-cooking meats that can be cooked in less than ten minutes. Sausage is slow-cooking meat that can take up to an hour to cook. Beef, pork, and lamb are all slow-cooking meats that take two hours to cook.

If you keep these things in mind, you can create the perfect meal for your family or guests!

Easy Chicken Steak Pesto Pasta Recipe

This is an easy 20-minute dinner recipe. The recipe only needs simple ingredients of creamy homemade pesto sauce, garlic, and juicy chicken breasts served over pasta. A family fave!


  • Eight oz. spaghetti
  • One tablespoon of virgin olive oil
  • One lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Two cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups pesto sauce, homemade or store-bought pesto
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • freshly chopped parsley for garnish


  1. Cook the pasta in a pot of water, following the package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then put it in the sizzling oil. Brown until golden brown and cooked through.
  3. Add the garlic to the skillet, stir and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
  4. Combine the pesto sauce with the broth and pasta water for extra flavor, and deglaze the pan. Please give it a good stir.
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer, then add the cooked pasta. If the mixture thickens more than you want, add additional water. Toss to coat the pasta in pesto sauce.
  6. Plate the servings, and garnish with fresh parsley, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Ground Beef Pesto Pasta and Ricotta Recipe


  • 1 lb ground beef or meatloaf mix
  • One medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Four cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz whole tomatoes, pureed
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 8 oz water
  • 10 oz short pasta, such as trivelli, fusilli, penne, shells, etc.
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (homemade or store-bought jar of pesto)
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese, whole milk or part-skim
  • 2 oz parmesan cheese, shredded


  1. Add the ground beef, onion, and salt to a large nonstick pan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and the ground beef has cooked chiefly through.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for two more minutes.
  3. Mix the pureed whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water.
  4. Spread the pasta in the skillet and then spoon over the tomato mixture. Push down any pieces to ensure that all of the pasta is covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir the ingredients throughout the cooking.
  5. Taste the pasta to be sure it’s cooked, then stir in 2 tablespoons of pesto and dollop spoonfuls of ricotta on top.
  6. Cover the skillet, remove the heat from the pan and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  7. Serve the pasta with extra pesto and parmesan cheese.

See also:

Pesto Pasta: Why Is It so Famous?

Pesto, or (to refer to the original dish) pesto alla Genovese, is a sauce produced in Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy.

Its popularity has grown recently because it is a simple dish that can be made quickly and easily.

What is a pesto pasta sauce made of?

The pesto sauce traditionally consists of crushed garlic, European pine nuts, coarse salt, fresh basil leaves, and hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan cheese) or Pecorino Sardo (cheese made from sheep’s milk). And all is combined with olive oil.

This combination of ingredients creates a flavorful and creamy sauce that can be used on any pasta.

What does it taste like?

It has a distinctively sharp and nutty flavor. The olive oil adds richness to the dish and helps to balance out the intense flavors of the other ingredients.

Why is it so special about it?

The versatility of basil makes it an excellent dish for busy weeknights or to serve at parties or gatherings.


What protein goes with pesto pasta?

Various types of meat include chicken, shrimp, sausage, beef, pork, and lamb. You can also choose fish as a lighter option.

What does pesto pair well with?

Pesto pairs well with various things, including pasta, chicken, shrimp, sausage, beef, pork, lamb, fish, rice, potatoes, and vegetables.

What do Italians serve with pesto?

Pesto is an ideal complement to potato and pasta salads and a long-standing flavor-enhancing backdrop add-in in countless bean, and tomato-based Italian soups and vegetable stews – most notably in minestrone Genovese.

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