Pesto Pasta Salad
This easy Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe is filled with vegetables and a flavorful pesto sauce! A colorful pesto pasta salad that’s easy to make for a potluck or BBQ.
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 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 Greek Pasta Salad, Spinach Pesto Pasta, and classic Italian Pasta Salad!
This pesto pasta 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.
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:
Pesto Pasta Salad
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.