daily californian logo


Easy meals to make with pesto

article image



We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

SEPTEMBER 07, 2023

As a sophomore this semester, I’ve been struggling with knowing where to begin when using my new kitchen. I never had this issue in the dorms as a freshman simply because I didn’t have a kitchen, but now that I do, I feel like I should put it to good use. I’ve spent my first couple of days back in Berkeley grocery shopping and scouring the internet for easy recipes to make, and I’ve actually tried a couple that haven’t come out too badly. For example, over the weekend, I decided to save some cash by making my own pesto when I stumbled across this amazing online recipe for kale pesto. I figured it was a great way to save some money, while sneaking some good vitamins into my food, so I decided to try it out. I’ve actually been able to use this pesto throughout the entire week in some other recipes that have turned out really delicious. So, here’s how I did it.


I found this recipe on a reliable site for easy and cheap recipes called Budget Bytes. The recipe includes college friendly ingredients, so I thought I’d share it with you all. The recipe calls for four cups of kale, ⅓ cups olive oil, one fresh lemon juice, one clove of garlic, ¼ cups walnuts, ⅓ cups parmesan, salt and pepper. You can then blend all of these ingredients together using a blender or food processor to complete the pesto. After you’re done, give it a taste and hopefully, you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.  Since I had so much pesto, I decided to experiment and was able to find two easy, budget friendly pesto meals.


Stuffed spinach pesto shells 

Although the bake time is a little longer than the average meal, the prep time doesn’t take long at all and it’s fairly easy for beginner cooks. 


  • Large pasta shells
  • Spinach
  • Ricotta
  • Mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • Pasta sauce 


  1. You can start off by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and bringing water to a boil in order to cook your pasta shells to tenderness. 
  2. While your shells are cooking, combine your other ingredients in a bowl to make the stuffing. 
  3. After the pasta has cooked, stuff them with your mixture and line a pan with marinara sauce.
  4. Lay your shells in the pan and cover them with more marinara sauce and cheese. Then, bake for about 30 minutes and there you have it — your very own easy, stuffed pasta shells!


Pesto grilled cheese

This recipe is even easier to make for those of you low on time — all you have to do is spread this flavorful mixture on the bottom of two pieces of bread and fill up the rest of the insides with whatever you desire. Then, you can toast the bread on a stove and allow everything to melt together into a yummy sandwich. 


There are also a variety of pastas you can make with your pesto, ranging from macaroni and cheese to butter and oil pasta. If you make your pasta like normal and then add a tablespoon or two of pesto, it’ll get that delicious flavor that you’ve been craving. 


Overall, this pesto is very easy to make and versatile, so you can use it throughout the week on a variety of different meals and recipes. It can also be used in place of any regular pesto because it gives you an extra boost of vitamins with its kale base.


Best of luck and happy cooking! 


Contact Kendall Richter at 


SEPTEMBER 07, 2023