Pasta covered with fresh pesto, and mixed with summer veggies make this dish a must have at your next BBQ this summer.
Until a couple years ago, I was not a pasta salad fan. I stayed as far from it as I could. Gloppy mayo and bottled dressings never enticed me to try more than a bite.
One day when I was looking through For the Family’s recipes I found my friend Tiffany’s (AKA Don’t Waste the Crumbs) delightful garlic butter pasta salad. Just the title grabbed my attention, what is not to love? Garlic, butter, and pasta are always a win in my book.
Guess what? I realized that I was putting pasta salad in a box and treating it with an aversion that it didn’t deserve. Will I be lining up at the next pot-luck to eat a “traditional” pasta salad? No, I still won’t but it opened my eyes to the tasty options that were possible.
Fast forward to last month. My little sister’s wedding reception had just ended. We all piled in our cars to have an “after party” at my parent’s house because that is the only sane thing to do right? My uncle, got the grill going and my cousin Stacy (check out her TravelTote) made two AMAZING salads.
One of the aforementioned salads was a pesto pasta salad. It.was.so.good! I knew that I had to recreate it. My version ended up being different than her’s since I left out the mozzarella and pine nuts because well pine nuts aren’t budget food and I’m not a cheese fan.
This version suits my fancy quite well, it is full of summer vegetables, garlic, basil, good fat, and salt. What’s not to love? To make this a meal in a bowl add chopped chicken or salami.
Random fact, did you know that in Baja California, tamales are served with pasta salad? 🙂
Fresh Pasta Pesto Salad
8oz corkscrew pasta
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup basil, cut*
1/2 cup fresh pesto
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1lb cooked chicken or salami (optional)
Cook pasta until done. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is boiling, cut the tomatoes, pepper, onion, and basil*.
*Roll a few basil leaves up together like a cigar. Thinly slice and proceed with the remaining leaves.
Mix the salt and red pepper flakes into the pesto. Coat the pasta with the pesto mixture.
Toss the pesto pasta with the chopped vegetables and basil.
Chill until you are ready to serve.
Pesto Pasta Salad
- 8oz corkscrew pasta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup basil, cut*
- 1/2 cup fresh pesto
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- Cook pasta until done. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta is boiling, cut the tomatoes, pepper, onion, and basil*.
- *Roll a few basil leaves up together like a cigar. Thinly slice and proceed with the remaining leaves.
- Mix the salt and red pepper flakes into the pesto. Coat the pasta with the pesto mixture.
- Toss the pesto pasta with the chopped vegetables and basil.
- Chill until you are ready to serve.
This is so fresh and bright! A perfect side when grilling out this spring or summer!!
Katie Mae Stanley
Thank you! That’s normally when I like to serve it. 🙂
Carol Little R.H. @studiobotanica
What’s not to love about PASTA SALAD with the yummy basil-y goodness of pesto sauce?
I make a similar one — always a hit — at summer picnics and SO easy to make and transport!
Thanks for sharing your version! SO beautiful Katie Mae!
So simple and easy, yet perfect for those summer BBQs. Pesto is always a crowd pleaser.
Love a good bowl of fresh pesto pasta salad. So simple and delicious. Love it !
Oh yes please. This is just classic. It totally reminds me of growing up food, so fresh, yet hearty and satisfying. I love your version, too, with the red pepper flakes!
Katie Mae Stanley
Thank you! <3
Fresh pasta salad full of flavorful ingredients is all we need for dinner tonight!
You can’t go wrong with a good pesto. This looks so good. Can’t wait to try your recipe.
Pasta salads are so great summer, as well as school lunch for the kiddos. I can see this cooked a lot by many people in the warmer months!
I love the cold pest noodle variation! My girls love pesto (which has always surprised me!), so this would be perfect for them!
Karen @ Seasonal Cravings
Easiest pasta salad ever! This looks perfect for neighborhood potlucks and Memorial Day weekend. The perfect summer salad!
This is simplicity at it’s finest! Fresh and so flavorful 🙂
I absolutely love pesto pasta, never added bell peppers and tomatoes before…can’t wait to try it!
Your bowls are SO cute! This is exactly the type of pasta salad I love. I really dislike the ones with weird dressings or mayo. Pesto, pasta, veggies… as it should be!
Pesto is my all time favorite condiment! Yum!
Katie Mae Stanley
Emily @ Recipes to Nourish
I LOVE pesto!!! This pasta salad sounds perfect – especially with all that fresh basil that will be packed at all of the local farmers markets soon. Love those bowls too!
Would you believe I’ve never tried to make a pasta salad? Probably because there’s no chocolate in them…. Maybe I should come up with that…. hahaha!
This looks so delicious and flavorful. The perfect make ahead meal for a a busy week coming up.
This looks so so delish!! What a perfect thing to bring to a potluck.
Katie Mae Stanley
Thank you! 🙂