Pesto Pasta Salad

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Looking for an easy recipe to impress your friends and family? Look no further than this delicious Pesto Pasta Salad! This simple yet flavorful dish is sure to be a hit at any get-together. It takes just minutes to prepare and can easily feed a crowd. With its fresh ingredients and versatile pesto sauce, this pasta salad makes the perfect summer dish. Get ready for a flavor explosion with this amazing Pesto Pasta Salad!

If you’re looking for a delicious yet easy to make meal, why not try a classic pasta dish? Pasta Recipes are the perfect choice whether you’re wanting something quick and tasty, or an impressive dinner that’s sure to impress your family. With countless options of sauces and meats, there’s no limit to the tastiness of your pasta creation. So get cookin’!

pesto pasta salad with pine nuts

Ingredients Needed for this Recipe

Here’s what you need for this easy meal!

  • Cooked ChickenCooked chicken adds a layer of deliciousness to any pesto pasta salad. Not only does its savory taste provide a flavorful contrast to the tangy pesto, but it also enhances the dish’s textural qualities. In addition, cooked chicken is both nutritious and versatile – you can prepare it in multiple ways and use it in countless variations of the pasta salad.
  • Bow Tie PastaBow tie pasta, otherwise known as farfalle, is a great choice for a pesto pasta salad. The flattish shape and texture lends itself to catching any extra sauce – in this case delicious pesto! When mixed with other ingredients like olives and sundried tomatoes, the flavor of the noodles is accentuated so you can really taste the pesto.
  • Mozzarella CheeseThere’s nothing quite like a refreshing pesto pasta salad with mozzarella cheese to evoke warm memories of long lazy summer days. The delectable combination of flavorful fresh basil pesto with pillowy chunks of mozzarella cheese adds a delightful finishing touch.
  • Pesto SaucePesto sauce is a delicious way to add flavor to a dish. It combines basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil to create a tasty and unique taste that stands out. Thereโ€™s something special about pairing pesto with pasta, especially in a salad.
  • Pine NutsWhen it comes to pesto pasta salads, there is nothing quite like the flavor and texture of pine nuts. They add a savory crunch and natural sweetness that is hard to replicate with other ingredients.
pesto pasta salad ingredient list

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What Goes Well with Pesto Pasta?

Pesto pasta is a classic Italian dish thatโ€™s super savory. If you’re serving it as a side, add a loaf of crispy french bread with butter.

If you want to make this the main course, add chicken to it and serve along side your favorite seasonal fruit.

This also makes the perfect addition to any pot luck or picnic. We love this dish!

pesto pasta salad in process

You can also add any other vegetables to this pasta salad that you like. I’ve had readers tell me they like to add zucchini, roasted peppers or sun ripened tomatoes. Then, if you want, you can top it of with a sprinkle of freshly-grated parmesan over your pasta for a final touch of deliciousness!

Can Pesto Pasta Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?

If you want to give yourself a jump-start for your next party or gathering, consider making pesto pasta salad ahead of time. Pesto pasta salads are full of flavor and could be customized based on the herbs, spices, or vegetables that you like most. It is possible to make these recipes up to two days in advance without compromising their freshness or taste.

pesto pasta salad forkful

All you need to do is store the salad in an airtight container before adding garnishes – such as shredded Parmesan cheese – just prior to serving. Preparing pesto pasta salad ahead of time means that you wonโ€™t be short on time when it comes to plating up delicious dishes for friends and family.

You’ll Love These Other Pasta Salad Recipes

Here are a few more pasta salad recipes that are perfect additions to a church potluck, family get together or picnic you might be planning.

What Kind of Cheese Goes with Pesto?

Pesto is delicious on so many different types of dishes, but what is the best cheese to go along with it? A good rule of thumb when selecting your cheese to enjoy with pesto is to start by seeing if you can find Grana Padano, a hard Italian cow’s milk cheese which has a bit of saltiness and nuttiness that perfectly complements the basil flavor of pesto.

pesto pasta salad in white bowl

If this isn’t an option for you, then Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano are also great replacements! All three cheeses provide a balance between the richness of the cheese and the herbaceousness of the pesto. Enjoying them together will give you an amazing depth of flavor and make your next meal truly something special.

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More Delicious Pasta Recipes

If you love how simple this recipe is, here are a few more that highlight pasta as one of the main ingredients and are crowd pleasers at my house every single time I make them! All of these make for perfect dinner ideas.

pesto pasta salad closeup

If you make this super easy recipe do me and favor and leave a comment letting me know how much your family loved it. I hope they love it as much as we do!

pesto pasta salad with pine nuts

Pesto Pasta Salad

This pesto pasta salad is the perfect summer dish. It's quick and easy to make, and it's loaded with delicious flavors. Plus, it's perfect for potlucks and parties.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken (about 4 breasts)
  • 1 Box of Bow Tie Pasta
  • 8 Ounce Mozzarella Cheese
  • 7-8 Ounces of Pesto Sauce (more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts (more or less based on your liking)

Instructions

    1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
    2. While you're waiting for the water to boil, chop your cooked chicken.
    3. You could use chicken that you grilled from a previous dinner, chicken that you cooked in the crockpot during the day, or a rotisserie chicken you grabbed from the deli at the grocery store. I used 4 grilled chicken breasts that I cooked in mass quantity a few nights before.
    4. Take your block of mozzerella cheese and cube into small bite sizes pieces.
    5. Once your water comes to a boil, add the pasta and let it cook until al dente according to the box directions. Likely 9-11 minutes.
    6. Once your pasta is done cooking drain and rinse in cool water. Transfer it to the bowl you would like to serve the pasta in.
    7. This is where the pesto sauce comes in.
    8. You can certainly make it yourself, but I like to purchase it already made. You will find it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
    9. Dump the pesto sauce over your noodles and stir to coat evenly.
    10. Measure out 1/2 cup of pine nuts. I love pine nuts, but if your family is not fond of them, you can certainly do less- maybe just a handful.
    11. Add the chopped chicken, the cubed cheese and the pine nuts to your pasta and stir to mix.
    12. Whatever is leftover you can refrigerate and serve chilled within the next day or so.

26 Comments

  1. oh my word, i was just thinking of making this!! looks so yummy!

    thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my freezer meals & also for sharing them with your FB readers ~ i really appreciate it!!

    1. Angie- you’re very welcome! Thanks for swinging by my site.

      The pasta dish is awesome. Esp if you love pesto and pasta!

  2. Christine says:

    sounds easy enough……and yummy. I think I’ll give it a try.

    1. thank yoou for the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ I am from Croatia, I will be glad to check it

  3. YUM! This looks so good…and I love Buitini basil pesto on pretty much anything. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. WOW! That IS simple! I love pesto and I’m always looking for recipes to use cooked chicken in. TFS!

  5. Looks delicious! Glad I found you over at Balancing B&B today. Will be adding your recipe to my menu plan next week. ๐Ÿ™‚ Blessings, ~Lisa

    1. That is so great to hear, Lisa! Let me know how much you love it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sounds yummy! I’ve been trying to come up with new pesto recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Diana- you can also just cook chicken breasts in the crockpot that are covered in pesto sauce. Yum.

  7. The best! I make something really similar on weeknights when I don’t really feel like cooking. Plus, it’s good leftover hot or cold!

  8. oh that is definitely yummy. I am going to pin that on pineinterest.

  9. This looks delicious. Thanks for posting!

  10. That looks absolutely delicious … I’ll definitely be making it. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Super easy, super delicious! I love the back story for why you lost the taste for pesto…and then craved it again after ten+ years. I also love pesto and after reading this, I’ve decided to walk out to the garden and pick a bunch of basil to make some tonight! Thanks for linking to Food on Fridays.

  12. Some cherry tomatoes cut in half would give it nice color and flavor.

    1. That is a great suggestion, Anton! I will have to try that.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Hi Crystal,
    It is truly a small world, I have a friend that works for Acme Brick and she too is a great cook. This is a wonderful summertime salad that is full of flavor! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and sure hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

  14. Pre-packaged pesto is a gift from heaven, I’m convinced. I wish I hadn’t visited before lunch – nothing will live up to this, I’m sure! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Roberta Knapp says:

    Let me know how much you love it. Esp if you love pesto and pasta! oh my word, i was just thinking of making this!!

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