Pesto Pasta Salad is simple, light and a delicious crowd-pleasing side dish! Cooked pasta, roasted asparagus, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh pearl mozzarella and toasted pine nuts tossed in a homemade basil pesto.
Homemade pesto reigns supreme.
Although store-bought works in a pinch. Whipping up your own takes a few minutes and I promise, it makes all the difference. I could literally drink homemade basil pesto from a straw it’s that good. And this pesto pasta salad isn’t too shabby either.
Cooked pasta, roasted asparagus, cherry tomatoes and small pearl-size mozzarella tossed in pesto. Need I say more?
Bring this to your next cookout and I promise it will be the first thing gone.
To Make This Pesto Pasta Salad You Will Need:
- dried pasta
- sea salt
- olive oil spray
- kosher salt
- ground black pepper
- cherry tomatoes
- pearl mozzarella
- basil pesto – homemade or store-bought
- toasted pine nuts
- shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 500℉ (or 260℃)
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted (a small palmful of fine sea salt) water to boil. Once boiling, stir in 8 ounces pasta and cook following the package directions.
Spray a small, rimmed sheet pan with olive oil spray. Arrange 12 ounces trimmed asparagus on the pan, lightly spray with olive oil and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper.
Roast for 6 minutes for thin asparagus and 8 minutes if thicker. Rotate the pan halfway through roasting.
Once roasted, use tongs to transfer the asparagus to a cutting board and cut into thirds.
After the pasta has cooked, drain and rinse with cold water.
In a large mixing bowl add the cooked pasta, roasted asparagus, 8 ounces pearl mozzarella and 8 ounces halved cherry tomatoes.
As I mentioned earlier, I quickly whipped up my favorite homemade basil pesto. However, this time I made it in my magic bullet blender and it was SO easy! After I make the salad, any leftover pesto I have gets measured (2 tablespoons) and spooned into an ice cube tray and popped into the freezer. This way I can have fresh pesto all year round.
You will need about 4 to 6 tablespoons.
Add the basil pesto, 1/4 cup each of toasted pine nuts and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Toss to combine.
Taste and season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Transfer to a serving bowl or chill until ready to serve. Add more pesto to the top if desired.
This pesto pasta is so light and fresh! Using homemade pesto is a game changer because you get the burst of fresh basil, bright lemony flavor and the nuttiness from toasted pine nuts.
Serve this stunning salad as a side dish at your cookout or with dinner next to grilled chicken, shrimp or fish. SO good!
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Pesto Pasta Salad
- sea salt, for pasta water
- 8 ounces short pasta
- olive oil spray
- 12 ounces asparagus
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces pearl mozzarella
- 4 - 6 tablespoons basil pesto
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 500℉ (or 260℃) and bring a pot of salted water to boil (I measure a small palmful of fine sea salt).
- Spray a small, rimmed sheet pan with olive oil spray. Arrange trimmed asparagus on the pan, lightly spray with olive oil and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Roast for 6 minutes if asparagus is thin and 8 minutes if thicker or until tender. Rotate the pan halfway through roasting.
- Once roasted, use tongs to transfer the asparagus to a cutting board and cut into thirds.
- When the water is boiling, drop in the pasta and stir ocassionally. Cook following the package directions. After the pasta has cooked, drain into a colander and rinse with cold water.
- In a large mixing bowl add the cooked pasta, roasted asparagus, pearl mozzarella, halved cherry tomatoes, desired amount of pest, the pine nuts and parmesan.
- Toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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