From prawn spaghetti to the quickest bruschetta: 5 quick pesto recipes to try immediately.

Thanks to our brand partner, Barilla

I’m a self-proclaimed lazy girl when it comes to cooking. All I want is something that tastes delicious, but takes barely any time to prepare… is that too much to ask for?

For me, weeknights are not for experimenting with difficult recipes, or spending hours in the kitchen. I want to cook simple, easy meals that taste delicious and make me feel good. 

If there's one thing my mum taught me, it's to always have your favourite staples on hand. This way, you can whip something up, even if you've been avoiding your weekly grocery shop. 

Along with eggs, penne pasta and a block of chocolate – I always have a jar of Pesto Barilla in my pantry. It’s creamy, so versatile and easy to cook with. Honestly, no matter how many times I use it in a week (plenty), I’m always looking forward to using it in a big bowl of pasta, as a pizza base or on a roasted piece of salmon. 

For the pesto novices or for those who usually make it from scratch, the Pesto Barilla is seriously delicious, takes minimal effort but is bursting with flavour. 

With that being said, I have rounded up mine and the Mamamia team's 5 favourite pesto recipes. 

You can thank me later.

Oven baked salmon with Pesto Genovese crust

Image: Supplied. 


"Salmon always ends up in my shopping cart because it is relatively easy to cook. I used to squeeze some lemon juice on top for some extra flavour, but now I make an easy Pesto Genovese crust, which has completely elevated my boring salmon meal to a new level of deliciousness." – Olivia H, Mamamia team

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes.

Cook time: 15 minutes.


  • 4 x 180g salmon fillets, skin off

  • ½ jar Barilla Pesto Genovese

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil

  • 60g Italian or panko breadcrumbs

  • 30g honey

  • 1 zucchini, seeds removed and cut into 4cm batons

  • 50g continental beans, blanched

  • 50g green vegetables in season (such as broccolini, pak choy, asparagus)

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • ½ fresh chilli, sliced


1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.

2. Prepare the dressing by combining the Barilla Pesto Genovese with lime juice and pepper. In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and half the pesto dressing.


3. In a fry-pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil and cook the fish for 2 minutes on each side. Season to taste. Remove the fish from pan and place on the oven tray, brush the salmon with honey and top with the pesto breadcrumb mixture, forming a crust. Finish cooking in the oven for 5 minutes.

4. Using the same fry pan, add the chilli and garlic and cook the zucchini, beans and greens for 2 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

5. Serve the fish on a bed of green vegetables and finish with the dressing.

Spaghetti with prawns & Vegan Pesto

Image: Supplied. 


"This recipe looks, tastes and sounds like it belongs on the menu of a fancy restaurant in Capri, but it's surprisingly easy to make. It's my go-to 'impress your guests' meal, and it makes me look like I am a way better cook than I actually am." – Alisa, Mamamia team

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Cook time: 10 minutes.


  • 500g Barilla Spaghetti No.5

  • 1 jar Barilla Vegan Pesto (the original recipe calls for Pesto Genovese but the Vegan Pesto is a great alternative. It's dairy, lactose and soy free but still full of flavour)

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced

  • 24 prawns, peeled and veined

  • 150g potato, sliced (french fries shape, 0.5cm thick)

  • 150g green beans, sliced

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Rock salt, for pasta water

  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste


1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add salt.

2. In a large fry pan, cook the garlic and shallot in a little oil. Once golden, add the prawns, a little salt and pepper and gently cook for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. 

3. Drop the Barilla Spaghetti into the water and stir. Cook according to the instructions on the pack. Five minutes before draining the pasta, add the potatoes to the pot. Then add the green beans.

4. Drain the pasta, potatoes and beans, saving one ladle of the cooking water. Place all of them in the fry pan and add the prawns. Once the prawns are fully cooked and all the excess liquid has been absorbed, remove from heat and add the Barilla Vegan Pesto. Mix well, ensuring all pasta has been coated evenly. Serve immediately. 


Risoni risotto with chicken, broccoli & Pesto Genovese

Image: Barilla.

"I love risotto – especially in the colder months when I crave something hearty. You know, the sort of warm meal you want to curl up on the couch with and watch Friends for the hundredth time? Well, this recipe is just that. I use risoni instead of rice which saves me around 30 minutes, which I dedicate to the couch (time well spent)." – Maddie, Mamamia team


Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes.

Cook time: 15 minutes.


  • 200g Barilla Risoni

  • 1 jar Barilla Pesto Genovese

  • ¼ onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 small broccoli, florets only, sliced

  • 50g thinly chopped pancetta or bacon

  • 2 chicken thighs, boned, 1cm diced

  • 1.5L chicken stock

  • 50g unsalted butter

  • 50g grated parmigiano reggiano or grana padano

  • 3tbs extra virgin olive oil

  • Rock salt, for pasta water

  • Sea salt and pepper


1. Bring chicken stock to the boil in a large saucepan and keep simmering.

2. In a large fry pan, heat the oil and add the onions and cook until golden, then add the pancetta and chicken and cook for further 2 minutes until the chicken is seared.

3. Add the Barilla Risoni and stir, then add a full ladle of boiling stock and stir, then add the broccoli and stir.

4. Start adding a ladle of stock at a time and stir as if you were cooking a risotto. Cook on a gentle heat and as the liquid is absorbed, add more stock. Repeat until the pasta is cooked, this should take about 10-12 minutes.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, ensure it’s not too thick or too runny (it should have a risotto consistency) remove from the heat and add the butter and parmesan, stir well to combine. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving, then garnish each bowl with a spoonful of Barilla Pesto Genovese. 

Spaghetti with Vegan Pesto & cherry tomatoes

Image: Barilla. 


"This is my go-to recipe when I am time poor, it only takes 15 minutes to prepare, but tastes absolutely delicious. If you’re looking for something simple to make that is a guaranteed hit with everyone (even your fussy kids), this pesto spaghetti recipe is for you." – Phoebe, Mamamia team

Serves 4

Cook time: 15 minutes.


  • 340g Barilla Spaghetti No.5

  • 1 jar Barilla Vegan Pesto

  • 24 cherry tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Basil

  • A pinch of salt and sugar

  • Rock salt, for pasta water 


1. Halve the tomatoes and cook in a pan with basil, a pinch of salt and olive oil.

2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the Barilla Spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack. Once cooked al dente, drain and set aside some pasta water.


3. Toss the pasta in the pan together with the tomatoes and turn off the stove. Then, add the Barilla Vegan Pesto and toss together with some of the reserved cooking water, to emulsify the sauce. Serve with fresh basil.

Bruschetta with Basil and Chilli Pesto, smoked salmon & pearl onions 

Image: Supplied. 

"Bruschetta is without a doubt my go-to entrée when going out for dinner. I used to think that preparing it at home would be complicated, but as it turns out, it's surprisingly simple. This particular bruschetta recipe is my favourite because I can’t get enough of the smoked salmon and pesto combo. Whenever I have my friends over, I like to whip it up, mainly because it never fails to impress." – Liz, Mamamia team


Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes.

Cook time: 5 minutes.


  • 1 jar Barilla Basil and Chilli Pesto

  • ½ loaf Italian bread

  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered

  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ fresh chilli

  • 200g smoked salmon, slices

  • ½ jar pickled pearl onions, cut in half

  • 1 sprig dill

  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Cut the bread into 8 slices and lightly grill.

2. Mix the tomato quarters in a bowl with olive oil, salt and fresh chilli.

3. Spread the grilled bread with Barilla Basil and Chilli Pesto. Then top with cherry tomatoes and smoked salmon, finish with the pearl onions and garnish with dill.

I don’t want to say I am pesto obsessed but I lowkey am. There is something about its versatility and delicious flavour that takes any meal to the next level. Whether it's used as a sauce, spread, or topping – pesto has the power to elevate any dish… even the most boring ones. 

Find Pesto Barilla in your local supermarket's pasta and pasta sauce aisle, available in a range of 6 flavours including the original, Pesto Genovese, Vegan Basil Pesto and Basil with Chilli. 

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia. 

The history of our Pesto Barilla recipes is born from our passion for the most popular Italian ingredients and recipes: the scent of 100% Italian Genovese basil, the delicacy of Grana Padano PDO cheese. Creamy and with a delicious taste, Pesto Barilla brings an authentic Italian taste to your table. Young or old, Pesto Barilla is the taste everyone loves. You can find Pesto Barilla in the pasta and pasta sauce aisle in your local supermarket.