Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

Italian Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

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Vickie Parks


I combined two of my "go to" favorites and came up with this recipe recently when we wanted a quick pasta lunch. It was quite good. You can change the vegetables to suit your taste preferences, but the list of ingredients as listed makes for a rather tasty salad recipe. For a more substantial dish, you can add some chopped up salami or chopped jamon (Spanish ham) to the salad.

The recipe makes a fresh pesto from scratch. For more convenience, you can use a commercial pesto sauce. If you do so, then you can skip Step #1 and just move on to step #2 of the recipe roasting the bell pepper.


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4 to 6
35 Min
10 Min
Stove Top



  • 1 cup
    fresh basil leaves
  • 3 clove
    garlic, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp
    pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup
    freshly grated parmesan cheese (it's best to avoid the canned grated parmesan)
  • ·
    salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup
    olive oil

  • 1 (16-oz) pkg
    penne pasta, cooked and drained
  • 10
    sun-dried tomatoes, drained (reserve the oil)
  • 1
    red or green bell pepper, roasted and cut in half and sliced into thin strips
  • 8 spears
    asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 3/4 cup
    sliced olives
  • 6 oz
    sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup
    broccolini, cut into bite-size pieces

How to Make Italian Pesto Pasta Salad


  1. FOR THE PESTO SAUCE: Pulse the basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in a food processor for 10 seconds. With the food processor still on, pour olive oil in a steady stream and continue to process for a few more seconds or until well blended. Set pesto sauce aside. (It will keep in refrigerator for up to one week if stored in an air-tight container.)
  2. TO ROAST THE BELL PEPPER: Slice the pepper in half vertically (from stem to bottom). Remove seeds. Place peppers cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the peppers in 450° oven for about 25 minutes or until the skins are wrinkled and just starting to char. Rotate the pan about half way through roasting, for even charring.
  3. Cook pasta until al dente, and drain well. Add pasta (while still hot but well drained) in a large mixing bowl. Add all of the cut-up vegetables and pesto sauce, and toss well until well blended.
  4. IF SERVING WARM: Place a clean cloth over the bowl and let stand about 10 minutes, to allow the hot pasta and roasted pepper to soften the vegetables.
    IF SERVING CHILLED: Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Printable Recipe Card

About Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

Course/Dish: Pasta Salads
Main Ingredient: Pasta
Regional Style: Italian

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