Pesto Pasta Salad – Spend with pennies

Pesto Pasta Salad is easy to make, packed with flavor and hard to resist!

Pasta is tossed with fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and basil in a quick creamy pesto dressing in this fresh, easy side dish.

It’s perfect for cookouts, picnics and parties, or a simple lunch or dinner!

Pesto pasta salad in a bowl with parsley

A simple meal or side dish

  • Go on, chill and serve when ready. Dead easy!
  • This salad is pretty to look at and delicious.
  • Enjoy as Meatless main course or add chicken, bay shrimp, smoked salmon or even sliced ​​salami!
  • Potluck perfect, this easy meal is also popular at BBQs and get togethers.


PASTA – Choose pasta with ridges, twists, or tubes that the dressing will cling to. Cavatappi (corkscrews), farfalle (bow ties), penne, fusilli or rotini are great for this salad.

PESTO – Premade pesto sauce is easy to find at almost any store! Homemade pesto with herbs, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil is quickly prepared in a food processor. Or try an herb basil pesto or homemade kale pesto.

CHEESE – Soft, fresh mozzarella can be found in small balls, also known as “bocconcini”. Cut the cocktail size in half or use fresh mozzarella pearls if you like (or even a sprinkle of feta cheese). A large ball of mozzarella can be cut into small cubes if needed.

VEGETABLES: Grape or cherry tomatoes add a fresh twist to this pesto pasta salad recipe. Add your summer favorites, from corn on the cob to fresh spinach, red onions or even diced cucumbers.

Ingredients for the pesto pasta salad in a bowl

How to make pesto pasta salad

  1. Cook pasta: Cook the noodles al dente according to package directions.
  2. Prepare dressing: Mix dressing ingredients in a bowl according to the recipe below.
  3. Mix & Chill: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and chill before serving.

Serve with homemade garlic bread or crostini.

Pesto pasta salad in a bowl

Make Ahead & Leftovers

To make ahead, prepare all ingredients a day or two in advance and store separately. Mix a few hours before serving.

Store leftover pesto pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Using homemade pesto and store for up to 3 days.

More Mediterranean-inspired pasta salads

Did you make this pesto pasta salad? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Pesto pasta salad in a bowl with parsley

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Pesto Pasta Salad

This refreshing Pesto Pasta Salad is the perfect combination of pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives all mixed with a flavorful pesto dressing!

preparation time 20 protocol

rest time 2 hours

total time 2 hours 20 protocol

author Holly Nilson

a large saucepan with a lid
  • In a large saucepan, bring salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente and drain well. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto, mayonnaise, and red wine vinegar.

  • In a large bowl, combine the drained pasta, grape tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella, and olives. Add the dressing and mix well. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

  • Chop fresh basil and sprinkle on top just before serving

  • Rinse the noodles in cold water to keep them from cooking.
  • As the salad sets, it will absorb the dressing, so be sure to dress generously.
  • Optional additions include parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, capers, or a squeeze of lemon juice.

*If using homemade pesto, the pasta salad and remaining pesto should be refrigerated and consumed within 2-3 days.

Calories: 338 | Carbohydrates: 34G | Protein: 9G | Fat: 19G | Saturated Fatty Acids: 3G | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 449mg | Potassium: 300mg | Fiber: 3G | Sugar: 4G | Vitamin A: 760ie | Vitamin C: 5.4mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Nutritional information given is an estimate and will vary depending on cooking method and brand of ingredients used.

course Pasta, salad, side dish
Kitchen American, Italian
Pesto pasta salad in a bowl and covered in writing
plated pesto pasta salad with a title
mixed ingredients for pesto pasta salad in bowl with lettering
Close up of pesto pasta salad with writing

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