This Pasta Salad with Pesto comes together quickly with less than ten simple ingredients from perfectly al dente pasta and vibrant veggies to zesty and herbaceous pesto. It takes just minutes to prepare, making it a game-changer for any occasion from picnics and barbecues to a standalone lunch or dinner that’s always satisfying!

Overhead image of a bowl of pasta salad with pesto with a fork on the side.

Pass, the Pesto, Please!

When you think of pasta salad, you probably think of blad, cold noodles coated in creamy mayonnaise. But, that’s not what you’ll find in this recipe! 

We freshened up the classic dish with fresh produce and zesty pesto as the sauce. The end result is a flavor-loaded dish that’s full of nutrients and is just as easy to make as the original. 

Not to mention, this pasta salad with pesto: 

  • Uses just a handful of simple ingredients
  • Comes together in less than 30 minutes
  • Makes enough to feed a crowd
  • Can be enjoyed as a light meal or savory side
A fork spearing a bite of pasta salad with pesto.

Simple Ingredients You’ll Need

For this pasta salad with pesto, we swapped out heavy sauces for refreshing ingredients that are full of nutrients. It’s a great way to use up summer produce! 

  • Pasta – We prefer to use rotini for this recipe, but any small pasta you like best will work. If needed gluten-free noodles can also be substituted. 
  • Pesto – We pretty much always have a jar of homemade pesto on hand, but store-bought varieties taste great, too! 
  • Parsley – Included for a punchy, peppery taste. 
  • Cheese – A combination of Mozzarella pearls and shredded Parmesan cheese creates a creamy texture and rich, savory flavor you’ll love. 
  • Salt and Black Pepper – Use as little or as much as you’d like. 
  • Basil – Include this on top for a boost of refreshing flavor. 

Boil, Combine, Eat: How to Make Pasta Salad with Pesto 

The only cooking required for this recipe is preparing the pasta. Then, all you have to do is toss the ingredients together, and eat! 

  1. Prepare the Pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Then, drain the water, and set the noodles aside to cool. 
  2. Combine. Add all the ingredients except the cheese and basil to a large mixing bowl, and gently toss to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed to suit your preferences. 
  3. Garnish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and fresh, torn basil leaves on top. 
  4. Enjoy! Serve pasta salad chilled or at room temperature. 
A fork sinking into a bowl of pasta salad with pesto.

Common Questions About This Pasta Salad with Pesto Recipe

What goes well with pesto pasta salad? 

This recipe can be enjoyed on its own or given a boost of protein with the addition of shredded chicken, shrimp, beef, or turkey. Or, serve it as a side with a variety of main courses like turkey caprese sandwiches or chickpea chicken salad

Is pasta salad with pesto healthy? 

Of course, consult your doctor with any specific concerns. However, generally speaking, this pasta salad is a well-balanced dish! Featuring carbs, fats, vitamins, fiber, and nutrients, it’s an easy recipe you can feel good about. 

Can I make this recipe in advance? 

Yes! Transferred to an airtight container, this pasta salad with pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to five days. Just be sure to give it a good toss before serving to redistribute the ingredients. 

Do you eat pasta salad with pesto hot or cold? 

This recipe is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature. You just don’t want it to be hot! 

More Pasta Salad Recipes

Want more easy-peasy ways to make pasta the star of the show? We’ve got you covered with these simple yet flavorful salads!

A bowl of pasta salad with pesto topped with fresh basil.

Pasta Salad with Pesto Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Make this pasta salad with pesto with eight ingredients in 20 minutes for a light meal or satisfying side dish everyone will love!


  • 1 pound rotini pasta cooked according to package instructions
  • 16 ounces grape tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/3 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 8 ounces mini mozzarella pearls
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup red onion chopped
  • Parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish


  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, and set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, chopped grape tomatoes, prepared pesto, fresh Italian parsley, mini Mozzarella pearls, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the chopped red onion to the bowl, and toss everything together until well combined.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Garnish the pasta salad with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and torn fresh basil leaves.
  • Serve the pasta salad with pesto chilled or at room temperature as a side dish or a light meal.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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Serving: 1serving | Calories: 858kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 951mg | Potassium: 612mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2999IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 431mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

5 from 2 votes

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made this pasta salad for my brothers’ engagement party and it was a huge hit. I made the recipe for 60 people and Everyone loved it. So simple and so easy to make too!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this dish with homemade pesto sauce and it was delicious! I added shredded chicken and had an easy weeks worth of lunches.