This sun-dried tomato pesto pasta salad is a delicious, easy summer side dish or simple, vegetarian lunch or dinner plus it can be made ahead!
Table of Contents
- Pasta. Any short pasta shape will work. Penne, farfalle, macaroni, fusilli or small shells.
- Sun dried tomatoes. I use sun dried tomatoes in oil but you a use dehydrated tomatoes and reconstitute in boiling water for 10 minutes before draining.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. I often just use a few tablespoons of the oil the sun-dried tomatoes came in but olive oil works too.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Fresh basil.
- Parmesan cheese.
- Almonds. Any nuts can be substituted. Pine nuts or cashews will be delicious.
- Fresh lemon juice.
- Baby spinach.
- Feta cheese. Other soft cheese like fresh mozzarella or goat’s cheese can be used instead.
- Cherry tomatoes.
- Olives. I used pitted Kalamata olives but use any olives you love.
- Salt and black pepper.
How to make pesto pasta salad
Cook any short pasta shape of your choice in a big pot of salted water until al dente then drain and allow to cool. Make the sun-dried tomato pesto by combining sun-dried tomatoes in the oil they come in with garlic, basil, Parmesan and almonds. Blend until smooth. Combine the cooked pasta with the pesto, baby spinach leaves, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, cubed feta cheese, pitted olives and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl and toss.
How long does pasta salad last?
Depending on the dressing and ingredients, pasta salad can last up to 3 or 4 days covered in the fridge. Mayonnaise-based dressings or salads containing eggs are best eaten within 2 days.
What to serve with pasta salad
Pasta salad is a great summer side dish. Delicious served with grilled meat, chicken or fish.
Pasta salad recipes
Sun-dried tomato pesto pasta salad
For the sun-dried tomato pesto
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes + 2 tbsp of the oil it comes in
- ¼ cup blanched almonds
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- 3-4 tbsp water (to thin the pesto out)
For the pasta salad
- 500 g (1lb) cooked short pasta
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup pitted olives
- 1 cup feta cheese cubed
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
- To make the pesto: Combine all the ingredients, except for the water, in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time until your desired consistency is reached.
- To make the pasta salad: Combine the cooked pasta with the pesto, spinach, tomatoes, feta and olives. Season to taste and toss until well combined. Serve.