Eat the Rainbow Pesto Pasta Salad + Recipe Video
A colorful pesto pasta salad that’s easy to make for a potluck or BBQ. This Eat the Rainbow Pesto Pasta Salad is filled with vegetables and coated in a flavorful pesto sauce! With a step by step how to recipe video!
It was more than six years ago that I first shared this pesto pasta salad recipe here on Kristine’s Kitchen. When I looked back at that old post, my first thought was how delicious this pasta salad is.
My second and third thoughts? Wow, that photo is bad. Then… what was I thinking when I wrote that recipe? It was more of a list of what you could add to your pesto pasta salad than an actual recipe. And a disorganized list at that!
The base recipe is a really good one, and this Eat the Rainbow Pesto Pasta Salad deserved a new photo shoot, recipe video and updated recipe instructions asap! Now you can add it to your list of what to make this summer, along with my Southwestern Pasta Salad, Spinach Pesto Pasta with Fresh Green Beans and Chicken, and Kale Pesto Zucchini Noodles and Salmon.
Julia thought I was silly for adding “eat the rainbow” to the name of this pesto pasta salad. I had to explain to her that this salad is so colorful, it’s like you’re eating a rainbow. All of those fresh, colorful vegetables provide fiber and nutrients. One way to make sure you’re eating a healthy, varied diet is to eat the rainbow, and why not start with this flavorful pasta salad?
This pesto pasta salad is a crowd-pleasing dish that’s great to bring to a potluck or BBQ. As written, the recipe makes a lot (it feeds at least 10 as a side dish). If you’re making it for just a few people, I’d recommend halving the recipe.
Watch how easy it is to make this Eat the Rainbow Pesto Pasta Salad:
I made this pasta salad last weekend to bring to a BBQ at my parents’ house. We had leftovers, but no one minded because I was able to send them home with my family and enjoy some myself for lunch the next day. 🙂
As with any pasta salad recipe, you can easily customize this one to fit your tastes.
Tips for making this Pesto Pasta Salad:
- Use your favorite pasta shape.
- Change up the vegetables for a different pasta salad every time!
- Make your pesto sauce with basil, spinach, kale, or a combination of these. I used almonds in my pesto because Julia isn’t allergic to them. Pine nuts or walnuts work well, too.
- Pesto pasta salad will keep for 2-3 days in fridge.
To make this pesto pasta salad I used my:
Eat the Rainbow Pesto Pasta Salad
A colorful pesto pasta salad that’s easy to make for a potluck or BBQ. This Eat the Rainbow Pesto Pasta Salad is filled with vegetables and coated in a flavorful pesto sauce!
For the Pasta Salad:
- 1 pound pasta shapes (farfalle, rotini, penne or campanelle work well)
- 1 cup pesto sauce (see recipe below or use store bought)
- 2 bell peppers, any color, chopped
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
For the Pesto Sauce:
- 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil*
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup almonds (or pine nuts or walnuts)
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 2/3 cup)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
- If making homemade pesto sauce, place all pesto ingredients except olive oil into the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until incorporated.
- Stir the pesto sauce into the pasta until it evenly coats the pasta.
- Add the bell peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and green onions to the bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pasta salad can be served immediately, but is best if chilled for at least 2 hours before serving. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
*I often use a combination of basil and spinach in my pesto sauce. 2 cups basil and 1 cup baby spinach is a good ratio.
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