Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

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Kristina Moore Modified: April 4, 2022
Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

How To Make Pesto Pasta Salad

Delicious and easy to make, what more could you ask for in a pesto pasta salad? A wonderful dish with a depth of flavor that would leave you wanting more!

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

For Pasta Salad:

  • 1lbwhole grain pasta(fusilli, rotini, penne or farfalle)
  • 1pintcherry tomatoeshalved or quartered
  • 3handfulsbaby arugula(or spinach)
  • ½cupkalamata olivesthinly sliced (optional)
  • 15ozchickpeasrinsed and drained (optional)
  • feta cheesecrumbled (optional) (or little mozzarella balls or diced mozzarella or grated Parmesan)
  • black pepperfreshly ground

For Pesto:

  • ½cuppepitashulled pumpkin seeds
  • ½cupbasil leaves
  • ½cupflat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼cuplemon juiceabout 2 lemons
  • 1clovegarlicroughly chopped
  • ½tspsalt
  • cupextra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions.

  2. Before draining, reserve about ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and immediately rinse the pasta under cool water to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl.

Pesto:

  1. Meanwhile in a small skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring often, until they are fragrant and making little popping noises, about 5 minutes. Pour half of the pepitas into a bowl for garnishing later.

  2. Pour the remaining pepitas into a food processor. Add the basil, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Process while slowly drizzling in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until the pepitas have broken down to create a pretty smooth sauce.

Pasta Salad:

  1. Assemble the pasta salad by pouring all of the pesto over the pasta and toss until the pasta is lightly and evenly coated, adding a tiny splash of reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to thin it out.

  2. Then add the cherry tomatoes, arugula, remaining toasted pepitas, and any optional add-ins (olives, chickpeas and/or cheese).

  3. Toss again to combine, then season to taste with pepper. If the pasta needs a little more flavor, add salt or lemon juice to taste, or if the flavors are too bold, let it rest for a few minutes, and add a little splash of olive oil if necessary to tone down the rest.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 3236.08kcal
  • Fat: 293.64g
  • Saturated Fat: 42.52g
  • Trans Fat: 0.05g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 187.85g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 49.44g
  • Carbohydrates: 126.72g
  • Fiber: 22.82g
  • Sugar: 15.12g
  • Protein: 59.62g
  • Sodium: 2217.49mg
  • Calcium: 393.67mg
  • Potassium: 2245.55mg
  • Iron: 24.61mg
  • Vitamin A: 363.96µg
  • Vitamin C: 190.17mg
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