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Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad on the table ready to serve

This simple and delicious Pesto Pasta Salad tastes like summer!  Made with fresh sun-ripened tomatoes and basil, parmesan cheese and oodles of noodles.  So good.

Hands down this is one of my family’s most favourite pasta salads.  There’s just nothing more delicious than noodles smothered in homemade basil pesto. Toss in cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and you have pasta salad perfection.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Make it ahead!

This Pesto Pasta Salad makes a frequent appearance here during the summer months.  It’s perfect for potlucks, picnics and dinner on hot summer nights.  I love that I can make a big batch, serve it for dinner, then enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.  Easy, breezy, delicious.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Make it your own!

The nice thing about this pesto pasta salad recipe is how versatile it is.  I kept this version very simple and only added tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, but you can add much more if you like!  Toss in some fresh spinach or arugula.  Throw in some chick peas and more fresh basil.  Make it a meal and add grilled chicken.  The possibilities are endless…that’s the great thing about pesto, it pairs well with almost everything!

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe Tips:

  • I’m sharing a simple pesto recipe in the recipe card below, but you can also use this Carrot Top Pesto Recipe.
  • Or keep it simple and use a store-bought pesto!
  • Nut Free Tip:  You can leave the pine nuts out of the pesto recipe if you wish.  Sometimes I add 1/2 cup of fresh spinach instead.
  • This salad can be made hours ahead of time, even the day before.  If I’m going to serve it the next day, I like to leave out a little extra pesto and add it right before I serve the salad.
  • If you feel like you have too much pesto for your salad, feel free to store any extra in an air tight container in your fridge and use it for sandwiches or other pasta dishes.
  • Feel free to use your favourite noodles:  rotini, bows or shells work great!  I used green spinach rotini noodles for this salad.
  • I prefer to use fresh mozzarella balls and cut them up.  They have more flavour than mini bocconcini balls.
  • Add grilled chicken to make it a meal!
  • You can toss in fresh spinach or arugula for extra deliciousness!

Pesto Pasta Salad

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Pesto Pasta Salad on the table ready to serve

Pesto Pasta Salad


  • Author: Jo-Anna Rooney
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

This simple and delicious Pesto Pasta Salad tastes like summer!  Made with fresh sun-ripened tomatoes and basil, parmesan cheese and oodles of noodles.  So good.


Scale

Ingredients

Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Pasta Salad:

  • 1 lb dried pasta (rotini, bows or shells are great)
  • 11 1/2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cubed fresh mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Basil Pesto:

  1. Using a food processor, blend together the basil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese, until it is a rough paste.
  2. While the processor is running slowly pour in the olive oil, until combined.
  3. If the pesto is too dry, just add more olive oil.

Pasta Salad:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once it’s cooked, rinse well with cold water.  Drain well.
  2. Toss the cooled cooked pasta with the pesto.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
  4. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
  5. Enjoy!

  • Category: Salad

Keywords: pesto pasta salad

More Delicious Pesto Recipes:

Have a delicious day!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Rebecca Payne
    August 7, 2020 at 12:17 PM

    This looks so good. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks

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