Pesto Pasta Salad
This colorful pasta salad is a great side dish to accompany just about any spring or summer meal. It goes well with grilled chicken, steak, or burgers. This vegetable-filled pasta salad can even be a meal on its own, especially if you add in some cannellini beans for protein.
Pesto sauce and a bit of olive oil make up the dressing for this flavorful combination of pasta and vegetables. One of the best things about this recipe is that you can customize it based on your tastes and the vegetables that you have on hand. This time I added sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes, green onions, yellow bell pepper, cucumber, and chopped carrots to my pasta salad. I usually add artichoke hearts and feta cheese as well, but I didn’t have any on hand this time. It’s also fun to try out different pasta shapes- I’ve used everything from orzo to farfalle to the campanelle that you see in the photo. Be creative and add in your own favorite vegetables. I recommend using vegetables in a variety of colors for the most nutrition and the prettiest presentation.
One year ago: Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese
Pesto Pasta Salad
Makes about 10 side dish servings
- 1 pound of pasta (orzo, farfalle, campanelle, rotini, etc.)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 of an 11 oz. container of pesto (or make your own using the recipe below)
- 1/2 of an 8.5 oz. jar of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 4 green onions, chopped
- Parmesan and/or Feta cheese
Plus, any of the following (or any other vegetables you like!):
- Artichoke hearts
- Bell pepper
- Peas slightly cooked and cooled
- Grape or cherry tomatoes
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until it is al dente. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Combine the cooled pasta, a little olive oil, pesto, and vegetables in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add some Feta and Parmesan cheese, if desired. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Recipe is from a family friend.
Makes about 1 1/3 cups (Leftovers make a great sandwich spread or pizza sauce!)
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2/3 cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
With food processor running, drop garlic through the feed tube to chop. Add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and basil; pulse until finely chopped. Add olive oil in a steady stream while the processor is running and blend until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.