Monday, June 23, 2014

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
Pesto Pasta Salad

I LOVE pesto and this is the most fabulous 4-ingredient pasta salad ever. Garlicky pesto and sweet peas team up with mild mozzarella and al dente pasta for a super-quick and super-tasty pasta salad. Leave as-is for a meatless meal or side or add chunks of pre-cooked chicken or shrimp for a meal in a bowl. Change the peas to any small green vegetable you'd like, as well.

Pesto Pasta Salad
Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 as a meal or 6 as a side


8 ounces uncooked pasta such as cavatappi (in photo)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2-inch dice
8 ounces prepared pesto sauce (bottled or homemade are both fine)*
1 cup cooked and drained peas or other green vegetable


1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain again.

2. Toss pasta with mozzarella cubes, pesto and peas until well coated and serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to 4 hours. If refrigerated longer, you may need more pesto sauce to make up for any soaked up by the cheese and pasta.

*Homemade Pesto:

Makes about 1 cup

Printable Recipe

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
salt as needed

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again.
Add about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container.
Process basil pesto it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used, mix all batches together well. Serve over pasta. Basil pesto keeps in refrigerator one week, or freeze for a few months.

Originally posted to

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