A perfect mixture of healthy, refreshing ingredients, this Summer Pesto Pasta Salad is a must-try for a meal or quick bite after visiting the beach or spending time in the sun!
The ultimate basil pesto pasta salad
The season of BBQs, summer holidays, and outdoor parties is right around the corner! And with that, you need your potluck menu to be in tip-top shape. Well, this summer pesto pasta salad is the perfect dish to serve up, whether it’s for a crowd of guests or just for your household!
This easy to make pasta salad with pesto is a delicious blend of healthy ingredients that will fuel your body the proper way while also feeling indulgent and totally satisfying. This recipe serves 8!
Ingredients in summer pesto pasta salad
This pesto pasta salad recipe is made in two parts: the salad, and the dressing. We’ll start with a veggie-rich salad and will top it off with a delicious combo featuring basil, pine nuts, lemon, and more!
- Dried Pasta: For the main base of the salad, grab 12 oz of your favorite dried pasta. I used brown rice fusilli!
- Zucchini: To add some crunchy texture, include 1 small zucchini.
- Yellow Squash: For a bit of color, add 1 small yellow squash.
- Cherry Tomatoes: 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes makes the perfect addition.
- Mozzarella Balls: Next, include 1.5 cups of halved mozzarella balls.
- Pine Nuts: 1/4 cup of pine nuts add a yummy crunch and texture!
- Italian Seasoning: Finally, add 1 tsp of Italian seasoning.
- Basil: First up for the dressing is 1/2 cup of fresh basil.
- Pine Nuts: Pine nuts taste great in the dressing too! Include 1/4 cup. You can also use cashews or almonds, or a combo of the three.
- Olive Oil: To pull in the flavors of everything and add to the texture of the dressing, use 1/2 cup of olive oil.
- Vinegar: Include 2 tsp of red or white wine vinegar for taste.
- Lemon: Next, add a tangy flavor by including the juice from 1 lemon.
- Garlic: Add 1 garlic clove. You can throw in extra if preferred!
- Salt & Pepper: Include 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
- Parmesan Cheese: Finally, finish things off with 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese!
Tools used to create this recipe
To make this dish, you will need a a knife, cutting board, sauté pan, and a large bowl. An immersion blender will be helpful, though you can also use a regular blender or food processor if needed.
For measuring, you will need the following sized cups: 1/4 tsp, 1 tsp, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make homemade pasta salad with pesto
Pesto pasta salad comes together in a breeze. Start by cooking the pasta, followed by prepping the veggies, creating the dressing, and adding everything together!
First, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse it with cold water.
Next, cut the zucchini and yellow squash into bite sized pieces and sauté them on your stove top for about 10 minutes (or until they soften).
Add the pasta to a large bowl, and then add the zucchini, squash, tomatoes, mozzarella balls, pine nuts, and Italian seasoning. Set aside for later.
Following that, use an immersion blender (a regular blender or food processor will also work) and combine all of the pesto ingredients. Blend until the mixture is completely smooth.
Pour the dressing over the top of the pasta and veggies and toss until the salad is completely coated.
To finish, top with more pine nuts and parmesan cheese!
The perfect salad for a crowd
A cold pesto pasta salad like this is absolutely perfect for any get together. From a girl’s movie night to a full on party, this salad is the perfect bite. If preparing this dish for a large crowd (more then 8), easily double all of the ingredients for 16 heaping servings.
Storing leftover pesto pasta salad
With this recipe, storage is a breeze. Want to keep it simple? Throw tin foil or plastic wrap over the bowl and place it into the fridge. Are you meal prepping? Split the salad up into different Tupperware containers and allocate enough for each day.
Keep it refrigerated and enjoy for 3-4 days!
Remember, pasta only stays edible at room temperature for about 2 hours, so be sure to keep it refrigerated until it’s time to enjoy.
If you liked this recipe, you’ll want to try these!
Pasta dishes are pretty much endless. There are so many ways to flavor them and so many ingredient combo possibilities! Here are some more delicious pasta dishes for you to check out.
- Healthy Taco Pasta
- Pasta With Creamy Vegan Walnut-Tomato Sauce
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pasta Recipe
- Healthy Greek Pasta Salad (Gluten-Free)
Recipe by Erin Morrissey and Photos by The Mindful Hapa
- 12 oz dried pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 small yellow squash
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1.5 cups mozzarella balls, cut in half
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (or cashews/almonds)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp red or white wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- optional: 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Cut zucchini and yellow squash into bite size pieces and then saute on stove top for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
- Add your pasta to a large bowl, and add the zucchini, squash, tomatoes, mozzarella balls, pine nuts and Italian seasoning. Set aside.
- Using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor, combine all of your pesto ingredients and blend until completely smooth. I use an immersion blender.
- Pour dressing over top of pasta and veggies and toss until completely coated.
- Top with more pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
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