Pesto Pasta Salad
Nothing says summer like pasta salad and this pesto pasta packed with mozzarella pearls, spinach, and tomatoes is the best way to cool off on a hot day! Not only are the colors vibrant but also the taste and it just gets better and better every day it sits. Prep it the day before and lunch is sorted the next day!
Making the Pesto
The easiest part of this recipe is making the pesto! Every time I make pesto from scratch, I try something different to make it taste even better. This time around, I decided to toast the pine nuts with some garlic and olive oil and it really elevated this recipe.
After toasting the nuts and garlic, add them to a food processor along with the following ingredients:
- lemon zest
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- black pepper
*NOTE: If you are allergic to pine nuts, just leave them out. If you don’t like pine nuts, you can just swap them for walnuts or pistachios.
Blend until completely smooth. Taste and just salt or any other flavors as needed to your taste!
Cooking the Pasta
Once the pesto is ready, we can cook the pasta. I like to cook the pasta a minute or two past al dente since this pasta is served cold. My favorite shape to use is cavatappi or also known as celentani. You can use any shape you like though!
Cook the pasta in salted water according to package directions and then drain it out. Let it cool down for about 10 minutes before assembling.
Assembling the Salad
Now that the pesto and pasta are ready, we can assemble! Here are all the ingredients we’ll need for the pasta salad:
- mozzarella pearls
- chopped spinach
- grape tomatoes
- shaved parmesan
Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss them all together. You can also add in some chopped sun-dried tomatoes if you’d like. If you love olives, it would be a great addition to this salad!
Now just cover tightly and transfer to the fridge to chill for 1 to 2 hours until cold. Then, all that’s left to do is enjoy.
Other Summer Recipes to Cool Down With!
If you tried this recipe and loved it, drop by down below and let me know how you liked it with a rating and comment! Feel free to also leave a question there about this recipe and I’ll get right back to it.
Nothing says summer like pasta salad and this pesto pasta packed with mozarella pearls, spinach, and tomatoes is the best way to cool off on a hot day! Not only are the colors vibrant but also the taste and it just gets better and better every day it sits. Prep it the day before and lunch is sorted the next day!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3 cups basil
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- zest of one lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 12 ounces cavatappi pasta, uncooked
- 8 ounces mozzarella pearls, drained
- 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
InstructionsMAKE THE PESTO
- To a heated pan over medium-low heat, add olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and pine nuts are toasted. Take off the heat.
- Now to make the pesto, just add the sauteed pine nuts and garlic along with the basil, more olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, parmesan, salt, and black pepper.
- Blend until completely smooth and set aside.
- Boil pasta according to package directions in salted water.
- Drain when cooked and allow to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- To the same bowl with the pasta, add the mozzarella pearls, spinach, tomatoes, parmesan, and all of the pesto.
- Toss it all together very well.
- Cover tightly with saran wrap or foil and pop in the fridge to chill for an hour to two before serving!