Pesto Pasta Salad! This pasta salad is loaded up with fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, and coated with an easy to make homemade pesto sauce made with fresh basil and garlic.
This Pesto Pasta Salad is so easy to put together. Not only that, but it’s made with fresh ingredients that smell absolutely amazing. I love basil though. The smell, the taste, the look of it. I wish I had the ability to actually grow plants without killing them, because I would have basil plants all over the place.
The combination of basil with the garlic in the pesto sauce is enough to make me feel as though I am in foodie heaven. The pesto sauce is super easy to put together, just add the ingredients to a food processor and you’re all set. If you don’t have a processor you can use a mortar and pestle to grind the ingredients together.
My inspiration for this pasta salad is from a caprese pasta salad that my husband always gets me from the market. Fresh chunks of mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, spiral pasta, all coated in a pesto sauce. The pasta salad from the market had a combination flavor of Italian dressing and pesto, which is what I did here in this recipe too. And I love it!!! The only thing missing, is the version that we buy from the store has raisins in it. Which I didn’t add to my recipe. I do enjoy the raisins though, it’s a fun bit of sweetness that comes through. Definitely something that you can add if you want to give it a try!
Now you’re all set for a summer BBQ. I’m thinking this Pesto Pasta Salad served with some Pulled Pork, drenched in a Texas Style BBQ sauce, or maybe some Grilled Chicken Wings? And of course a perfect summer dessert of Pink Lemonade Pie!
- 2 cups fresh basil (just the leaves, stems removed)
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (can sub with walnuts if needed)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- 1 pound Fusilli pasta (or pasta noodle of choice)
- Prepared Pesto Sauce
- ¾ cup Italian dressing
- 2 cups diced cherry tomatoes
- 7 ounces fresh mozzarella (can find the ball shaped mozzarella in the deli section of most markets)
- Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan to a food processor. Pulse until mostly mixed and basil and pine nuts have been broken down to small pieces.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing the processor until all oil added and sauce is mixed.
- Boil the pasta noodles until cooked and softened. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water to help cool them.
- Add the pesto sauce and Italian dressing. Stir until the noodles are fully coated. Add the diced tomatoes and mozzarella. Fold to combine.
- Cover and chill for about 2 hours prior to serving. If the noodles have soaked up too much sauce add more Italian dressing as needed.
- Serve chilled and enjoy!