More than just a dish, this pesto pasta salad is a vibrant symphony of flavors dancing together in glorious harmony. From the bite of the crunchy peppers to the rich and creamy mozzarella, each ingredient lends the tune its own unique voice. The star of the show, of course, is the homemade basil pesto, the flavor of which is so bold and aromatic it enhances the entire dish. But let’s not forget the playful pops of color from the cherry tomatoes and olives that make the salad not only a feast for the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes!
An ode to Italian cuisine
This pesto pasta salad’s roots stretch back to the sun-drenched Liguria region of Italy, the birthplace of the enchanting basil pesto. Considered one of the essential elements of Ligurian cuisine, pesto has conquered hearts and taste buds worldwide. Traditionally made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano and olive oil, it embodies the Italian spirit of using simple, fresh ingredients to create remarkable flavors. This pesto pasta salad is our ode to this rich culinary tradition, a lovingly crafted blend of comfort and luxury.
We love how the spiral pasta holds onto the pesto and gives you plenty of sauce in every bite! However, you can also use farfalle, fusilli, penne, or even macaroni.
You can also use your favorite gluten-free pasta, just be careful not to overcook it!
Dry vs fresh pasta
While we love fresh pasta, it just doesn’t do well when thrown into a salad. For this and any pasta salad, stick to dried pasta.
Homemade vs. store-bought pesto
The taste of homemade pesto is one of our favorite foods. Store bought is just never that good. However, we recognize that there can be allergies to tree nuts and how much time it saves using store-bought products. Feel free to substitute store-bought pesto for the pesto if needed. You will need 1 1/2 cups of prepared pesto.
You can omit or add any toppings you like. Some of the most popular side dishes include chopped cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese.
frequently asked Questions
If you can’t find pine nuts, walnuts are a great substitute. For a nut-free option, try sunflower seeds.
Absolutely! You can use a non-dairy cheese substitute in place of the mozzarella balls and parmesan, or omit it altogether.