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A bowl of summer pasta salad is shown on the counter next to pesto and corn.
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Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

Creamy, quick, and easy, this vegetarian Pesto Pasta salad recipe is the best Summer dish! Make this cold pasta salad gluten-free or vegan and bring along to every picnic, potluck, and BBQ!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 417 kcal
London Brazil

Ingredients

  • 10-12 oz. bow-tie pasta gluten-free
  • 1 cup basil pesto store-bought or homemade
  • cup green peas canned or previously frozen*
  • cup corn canned or previously frozen*
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper to taste
  • cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2-3 cups arugula
  • Parmesan cheese optional

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse under cool running water.
  2. Once pasta is cooled to room temperature, combine it with ¾ cup of prepared pesto in a large bowl. Toss until well coated.
  3. Add peas, corn, salt and pepper to taste. Toss until all ingredients are well combined.*
  4. Refrigerate pasta salad for 1-2 hours, or until chilled.
  5. Just before serving pour in additional ¼ cup of pesto, and mix in toasted pine nuts and arugula.

  6. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Toast pine nuts at 325°F for 6-8 minutes.
  • If using frozen corn and peas, place them in a colander and run them under warm water until thawed. Drain them thoroughly before mixing into the pasta salad.
  • You can also mix in the remaining pesto, pine nuts and arugula if you would like to serve it immediately without chilling.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: Make the salad but keep the arugula, pine nuts, and ¼ cup of pesto separate. Mix in just before serving. Please note, some gluten-free pasta will get harder after 48 hours.
  • To Store: Keep this pesto pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Rinse pasta under cold water. This gets rid of the extra starchy coating. It also stops the cooking process so the pasta stays firm and it doesn't get mushy.
  • Use farfalle pasta. There's lots of surface area to soak up pesto, plus it looks pretty and unique.
  • Make it homemade. Whip up your own basil pesto at home for the freshest flavor.
  • Use frozen corn and peas. They're quick to use, and they have more flavor than canned.
  • Chill for 2 hours. This is long enough so the flavors meld, but not so long that the pasta loses its texture.
  • Add in more veggies. Asparagus, zucchini, squash, tomatoes would all taste great.

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 417 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 551mg24%
Potassium 252mg7%
Carbohydrates 46g15%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 11g22%
Vitamin A 1162IU23%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 93mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.