This Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad tastes like summer. Perfect for a light dinner on its own, or serve as a side dish with grilled protein and definitely picnic-worthy! It is simple to make, vegan, and gluten-free adaptable. With a Video!
Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness. ~Yousuf Karsh
Here is a delicious recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad. Flavorful tender noodles dressed with luscious Creamy Pesto Dressing. Greek yogurt and a little mayo give the dressing delicious tangy flavor and healthy sauciness. Green olives and fresh mozzarella pearls give rich texture. Topped with fresh garden tomatoes and basil leaves just before serving, this salad is with bright summer goodness.
Pesto Pasta Salad Video
Tips for making a good pasta salad:
- Stick to bite-size shapes for cold salads with nooks and crannies to hold the dressing.
- A uniform noodle cooks more evenly (then say like bow tie pasta tends to get overdone on the edges and still underdone in the center and will fall apart in your salad).
- Cook in salted water a little past al dente. Pasta firms up when it is cold, cooking just a minute or two longer will keep it tender and moist. A little salt adds so much flavor.
- Toss drained and unrinsed hot pasta with oil and lemon (or vinegar) to infuse with flavor and create succulent texture.
How to make Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad:
Step One: Boil pasta according to package directions, adding a minute or two.
Drain cooked pasta in a colander. Do not rinse!
Return to pot and toss with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, which will infuse the pasta with flavor and keep the noodles more pliable when chilled. Lay it out on a sheet pan to cool.
Step two: Mix together Fresh Basil Pesto (follow link for our easy recipe), with greek yogurt, mayo, lemon juice and salt. That’s it, dressing done!
This luscious creamy dressing is easy to find uses for… try with grilled veggies or raw veggies, use for salad dressing, or as a sandwich spread. Seriously endless possibilities!
Step three: Mix Creamy Pesto Dressing with cooled pasta, olives, and mozzarella pearls. Make-ahead up to this point and store in the fridge.
Step four: Add tomatoes and torn basil just before serving.
Hopefully, this Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad will inspire you to pack a picnic and enjoy a little outside time with friends and family.
I have been inspired this summer to spend most of my days outside. Everything seems better when my bare feet connect with the earth. Time slows, my senses awaken and my worries fade a bit. Wishing for you some carefree summer moments, let your senses receive all that is out there waiting for you to notice.
More salads you may like!
- Lemon Basil Orzo Salad
- Summer Pasta Salad w/ Grilled Zucchini, Corn and Cilantro Pesto
- Farmers Market Pasta Salad
- Grilled Tuscan Bread Salad
- Antipasto Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
This Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad tastes like summer. Definitely picnic worthy and perfect for a light dinner on its own, or serve as a side dish with grilled protein. It is simple to make, vegan and gf adaptable!
- 10 oz fusilli pasta, 5 cups cooked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4–1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup halved green olives
- 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella pearls
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
Creamy Pesto Dressing
- 3/4 cup basil pesto (try our recipe with vegan adaptations)
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt (sub vegan yogurt or vegan sour cream)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise (sub vegan mayo)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt and pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions adding salt to the water
- Rather than rinse with cool water, drain and toss hot pasta with olive oil and lemon juice, spread on a sheet pan to cool while you prep the veggies and dressing.
- Make the dressing: mix together pesto, greek yogurt, mayo, lemon juice until smooth and creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix pasta, olives, fresh mozzarella and creamy pesto dressing. (At this point you can refrigerate up to a day ahead of serving).
- Add fresh tomatoes and basil just before serving and garnish of choice.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 336
- Sugar: 3.1 g
- Sodium: 447.3 mg
- Fat: 19.3 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 30.6 g
- Fiber: 2.1 g
- Protein: 10.3 g
- Cholesterol: 5.1 mg
Keywords: Pesto pasta, pesto pasta salad, pesto pasta salad recipe, creamy pesto pasta salad