Pesto pasta salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

A healthy and tasty salad that’s ideal for summer BBQ’s and picnics.


  • 4 cups uncooked fusilli pasta (use rice pasta for wheat-free version)
  • 1 cup fresh basil pesto, store bought or home-made
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green olives or olive tapenade
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted (or fresh if you can get them)
  • 12 ounces assorted cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Several fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Cook the pasta:

  1. Cook pasta according to instructions on the package.
    • Make sure the water is salted (one and a half teaspoons per quart).
    • Remove pasta from heat and strain when pasta is cooked, but still firm (al dente).
  2. Toast the pine nuts:
    • While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium-high heat. Keep an eye on them because pine nuts can go from lovely and toasty to acrid and burnt in seconds.
    • When most of the nuts have a blush of golden brown on them, move them to a cool bowl or plate to rest. They will burn if you leave them in the pan.
  3. Combine all ingredients into a suitable salad bowl and mix together to distribute them evenly.
  4. Keep refrigerated until needed.


Image: Elise Bauer.
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