This easy and delicious Pesto Pasta Salad combines arugula pesto with fresh veggies and pasta!
In case you guys missed this one. . this recipe was buried at the end of my Lindsay Olives’ Ultimate Lunchbox post. . I must share this one again because it’s freaking delicious.
These days, whenever I have leftover basil, arugula or kale, I find myself making pesto. My food processor has never worked for me so much. Seriously. And this pasta salad is not just for the summer time. No way. This Pesto Pasta Salad can be enjoyed all year round. Well, ok maybe not in the winter but depends on where you live and what the weather is like, right? I make a big batch of this and munch on this for lunch, a mid-day snack and sometimes, dinner too. And my kid loves it too. This pasta salad would also make a perfect potluck or picnic dish!
The next time you have some basil and arugula laying around, you need to make this. I promise you will love it.
I hope you enjoy!
- 2 cups packed fresh baby arugula (I love Organic Girl)
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts + walnuts (I like to do a blend)
- 1-1½ cups good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ – 1 cup freshly grated (or chunks) of Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Kosher salt, to taste
- ½ lb Rotini pasta
- 2 medium cucumbers; peeled and chopped
- ½ red bell pepper; chopped
- ½ yellow bell pepper; chopped
- ½ orange bell pepper; chopped
- ½ cup grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 stalk celery; chopped
- ½ cup black olives; chopped
- ½ cup green olives; chopped
- 1-2 cups pesto (recipe above; mix in amount to your liking) + more if desired
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- fresh arugula to plate
- very light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (optional)
- Combine the arugula, basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil (I used about a cup) into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly combined. Add the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse until well combined. Season with salt.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions and cook to al dente. Rinse and allow to cool slightly.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cooled pasta with all of the chopped veggies. Mix in the pesto until everything is well coated, sprinkle on the pine nuts and mix again gently. Serve on a bed of fresh baby arugula. Hit with a very light dash of extra virgin olive oil if desired. Enjoy!