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Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

Pesto pasta salad is a great way to get creative with your dinner. It can be made in large batches and stored for later use or enjoyed as a side dish at a BBQ.

pesto pasta salad recipe

This pesto pasta salad is full of healthy ingredients that will leave you feeling satisfied without feeling stuffed after eating it. 

How To Make Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto pasta salad is a dish that’s hearty, healthy and quick to assemble.

pesto pasta salad

This recipe uses a store-bought jar of pesto sauce, but you can easily make your own. It also includes fresh basil leaves for an extra burst of flavour.

The possibilities are endless with pesto pasta.

What You Need For Pesto Pasta Salad

ingredients for pesto pasta salad, dry pasta, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, basil pesto, frozen peas
  • Pasta – you can use any type of pasta, I used fusilli pasta for this salad, but you could also use penne or conchiglie.
  • Pesto – I used store-bought basil pesto, but you can easily make your own with some fresh basil leaves, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
  • Peas – frozen peas, or fresh if they are available.
  • Tomatoes – I used cherry tomatoes halved.
  • Cucumber
  • Basil leaves
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Making Pesto Pasta Salad

The longest part of making a pasta salad is cooking the pasta.

Check the pasta packet instructions, but it will probably take about 10 minutes to cook the pasta. Add it to some cold salted water and bring to a boil.

Cook it until it is al dente, rather than too soft.

While the pasta is cooking, cook the peas.

Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto – it will stick better when the pasta is still warm. Also, stir in the cooked peas.

stirring basil pesto into cooked pasta

Leave the pesto pasta to cool down while you prepare the other ingredients.

Once the pasta has cooled to room temperature, stir in the tomatoes, chopped cucumber, freshly ground black pepper and some fresh mozzarella if you are using it.

pesto pasta with chopped cucumbers, cherry tomatoes halved, fresh basil leaves, peas


  • Add in grilled chicken or cooked ham/pepperoni
  • Add in some olives
  • Add in some fresh bell peppers, sliced
  • Switch the fusilli to penne
  • Use sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh cherry tomatoes
  • Add some mozzarella balls or an alternative type of cheese
  • Add toasted pine nuts
  • Squeeze some lemon juice over it

How Long Does Pesto Pasta Salad Last?

Pesto pasta salad lasts in the fridge for up to 1 week if stored in an airtight container.

pesto pasta salad

It means you can make pesto pasta salad ahead of time or store leftovers to have again later in the week.

I hope you enjoy this pesto pasta salad recipe; let me know in the comments if you end up making this recipe – it’s the perfect summer dish!

pesto pasta salad recipe

Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Pesto pasta salad is a quick to prepare and versatile dish that can be served for lunch, dinner or as a perfect BBQ side dish.


  • 400g dried pasta
  • 1 jar of store-bought pesto (or about 200g of homemade basil pesto)
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cucumber, cubed
  • Fresh basil leaves (small handful)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
  • Mozzarella cheese balls (optional)
  • Salt and pepper


    1. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Cook the pasta in some cold salted water. Only cook the pasta until it is al dente rather than too soft; this should be about 10 minutes.
    2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the frozen peas and prepare the other ingredients. Chop the cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Roughly shred the fresh basil leaves.
    3. Once the pasta has cooked, drain the pasta and transfer it to a large bowl. Stir in the basil pesto and the cooked peas. Leave it to cool to room temperature.
    4. When the pesto pasta has cooled down, stir in the remaining ingredients.
    5. Serve straight away or store covered in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 147mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g

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Saturday 16th of July 2022

Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, just tried your basil pasta salad it was very nice but wasn’t overly fond of the basil pesto. Can tomato pesto be used and would it keep as long I have just been introduced to the ninja cooking, I haven’t quite finished figured out the timings for the pressure cooker for smaller amounts for 2 persons and advice would would be appreciated

Thank you


Wednesday 20th of July 2022

@Liana Green, Thanks you very much.

Liana Green

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Hi George - thanks for your comment! Yes, you could use tomato pesto, great idea! Yes, it would keep for a similar time in the fridge. As for pressure cooking smaller amounts, if you are just halving a recipe (for example) the time will still be the same. The time food takes to cook will depend on the size of the actual ingredient (eg. 2kg gammon joint vs 1kg gammon joint). I will try and write an article to explain it better at some point - but feel free to email me with any specific recipe questions :)

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