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’!
Ingredients Needed for this Recipe
Here’s what you need for this easy meal!
- Cooked Chicken– Cooked 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 Pasta– Bow 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 Cheese– There’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 Sauce– Pesto 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. There’s something special about pairing pesto with pasta, especially in a salad.
- Pine Nuts– When 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.
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What Goes Well with Pesto Pasta?
Pesto pasta is a classic Italian dish that’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!
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.
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 won’t be short on time when it comes to plating up delicious dishes for friends and family.
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.
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.
- Vodka Chicken Pasta Recipe
- Instant Pot Chicken Pasta
- Italian Sausage and Elbow Pasta
- Ham Mac and Cheese Pasta Bake
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!
- 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)
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- While you're waiting for the water to boil, chop your cooked chicken.
- 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.
- Take your block of mozzerella cheese and cube into small bite sizes pieces.
- 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.
- 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.
- This is where the pesto sauce comes in.
- 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.
- Dump the pesto sauce over your noodles and stir to coat evenly.
- 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.
- Add the chopped chicken, the cubed cheese and the pine nuts to your pasta and stir to mix.
- Whatever is leftover you can refrigerate and serve chilled within the next day or so.