These easy roasted pesto potatoes with optional crumbled bacon make the best simple side dish that goes perfectly with any meat or fish dinner.
Curious what your go-to, easy side dish for weeknight meals is? We go through phases over here, 2-3 month periods where I’m either all about rice or all about simple, easy roasted potatoes.
Right now, it’s a potato phase.
For ease, I love buying bags of the small tri-color potatoes from BJs during my weekly wholesale trips (sometimes I seriously wonder how just the two of us go through so much food that I’m at a wholesale store like BJs weekly!) but this recipe for roasted pesto potatoes can really be made with any type of potato you have on hand.
Since it’s the middle of summer, I’m guessing you’re probably like me and keep finding yourself with lots of fresh greens and herbs on hand. When there’s a bunch of basil that needs picking before it bolts or just an overwhelming amount of greens in my fridge, my go to is always pesto.
For these pesto potatoes, I had basil, watercress and spinach on hand and so that’s what went into this simple pesto potato side dish. But, this isn’t one of those recipes that has to be followed to a T (or is it tee?). Make it your own! Use whatever greens/herbs you have and even whatever potatoes you have. It’s the method and the idea to combine a fresh pesto with some crispy roasted potatoes for an easy side dish that brings a little bit of variety to the typical roasted potato on your plate.
How To Make Pesto Potatoes
There’s two simple steps to these roasted pesto potatoes:
- Make the pesto
- Roast the potatoes
Ok, maybe three steps – then toss it all together with some cooked, crispy bacon!
The pesto is made like any other, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and drizzle in the liquid (olive oil and water in this recipe) slowly until you get the consistency you like. I actually don’t mind a thicker pesto for this recipe since it’s more of a coating on the roasted potatoes than a sauce on a pasta.
The method for roasting the potatoes is the simplest :
- First, cut the potatoes into small, bite-sized pieces. For these small tri-color potatoes I like halving them or quartering them if they’re on the larger side. If you’re using a regular sized potato or sweet potato, just chop into similar sized pieces.
- Toss with olive oil (or butter) and season very liberally with kosher salt and pepper.
- Lay them out on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Roast on convection setting at 425°F for 20-25 minutes, tossing as they cook to get crispy all around.
If you don’t have a convection setting on your oven, I provide notes in the recipe for the temperature.
You can cook the bacon on the stove-top while the potatoes roast if you don’t already have some on hand. Let it drain on some paper towels and then chop it up to sprinkle into the potatoes and pesto. The salty bite of the bacon is so good against the creamy potato and bright, fresh pesto.
What To Eat With These Roasted Pesto Potatoes
Potatoes go with everything, don’t they?!
What Kind of Potatoes Can I Use?
As I mentioned, this oven-baked pesto potato side dish is super versatile. Use any white potato (just chop into a smaller size like these small tri-color potatoes shown), sweet potato or even purple yam!
Do I Have To Use Bacon?
The bacon in this recipe is definitely optional but, I highly recommend it for that crunchy, salty texture and flavor. You could sub some freshly grated parmesan cheese for the bacon if you prefer though and if wanting to keep things vegetarian – just leave it out and make sure to season well with kosher salt instead.
Roasted potatoes are just the best.
If you love the simplicity of a roasted potato side dish as much as me, try these peri-peri potatoes as well – another easy way to bring lots of flavor to a simple roasted potato.
From their crispy outside to the creamy inside and then the bright pop of fresh pesto balanced by the salty bite from the crumbled bacon, pesto potatoes are side dish perfection.
Pesto and potatoes might be just as good as the classic pesto sauce and pasta combination.
Love this easy pesto potato side dish? Try one of these recipes too:
For the Potatoes
- 2 pounds small tri-color potatoes, halved or quartered if larger
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and chopped
For the Pesto
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup watercress
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 oz. water
- squeeze fresh lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 425°F convection roast. If you don't have a convection setting, preheat to 450°F.
- Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing occasionally while cooking until crispy.
- While potatoes roast, make the pesto by adding basil, spinach, watercress, garlic and walnuts to a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
- Scrape down the sides then turn the food processor on again and add the olive oil and water while running. Add more water if needed to get desired consistency. I don't mind this pesto being on the thicker side since it's coating the potatoes rather than being used as a pasta sauce.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper then stir in parmesan. Set aside until potatoes are done roasting.
- To assemble, toss roasted potatoes, pesto and bacon together in a large bowl.
- Serve immediately.
*Use whatever greens you have on hand. Basil, spinach and watercress can be swapped out for other greens/herbs or quantities of each varied based on what you have as long as it's 2.5 cups of greens total.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 342mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g