Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
Picnic season is right around the corner! For some people, anyway. My New England picnic would have to include layering up, wearing knee socks, hot chocolate, and a thermos full of soup. Or I can keep making and devouring Granny’s pesto pasta. Despite my love of winter, when it is still cold and windy in April, I am ready for some sunshine. But if a little warmth is too much to ask, I say bring on the tastes and flavors of summer. This pesto is so earthy and fresh and greener than anything I see in my yard at this point. And when it is all mixed up with pasta and some veggies, I can really taste summer. I can almost forget that the heat is still cranking as I eat it.

This recipe was really a cinch! Just boil some pasta, chop some veggies (you can easily add or subtract according to your taste), blend the pesto, and mix it all together. I made it for dinner for my family, and this will now be a go-to for feeding big groups. Especially big groups in the summer time.Pesto pasta for two
So far, I have made two batches of pesto. The first time I made it according to the recipe card. And the second time I toasted the pine nuts and added a clove of crushed garlic, which I strongly recommend. I plan to have a batch of this refreshing stuff in the fridge all summer long. And when picnic season does make its fashionably and frustratingly late appearance, I will be ready with a big bowl of this pesto pasta-sweater and knee sock-free.
Pesto pasta on a fork

Pesto pasta recipe card from grannys recipe box blog

Pesto Pasta-A Summer Flavored Pasta Salad

Pesto pasta is a super easy crowd pleaser. It is perfect for a picnic, cookout, or a family dinner. The pesto is so delicious and fresh, it tastes like summer. You can easily make this dish your own by changing up the veggies. Just use what you like, and you'll love the outcome!

  • 3/4 c packed snipped fresh basil
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 T pine nuts
  • 1/3 c olive oil (Granny used a lot more. I thought 1/3 c was perfect. Add until you reach your desired texture.)
  • 1/2 lb corkscrew macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 3/4 c sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can 2 1/4 oz. sliced olives
  • 1/4 c pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  1. Toast pine nuts by heating in a dry skillet over medium low heat until fragrant. Watch carefully because they will burn shortly after becoming fragrant.

  2. In a blender or food processor, combine basil, cheese, 3 T pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover, and blend with several on/off turns until a paste forms. With the blade running, gradually blend in olive oil. 

  3. Combine remaining ingredients.

  4. Toss with basil mixture. Chill and serve. This keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.


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