Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

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This pesto pasta salad recipe is made with tiny ravioli or cheese filled tortellini pasta. It’s a delicious side dish that can also be used for lunches and meal prep.

Simple and delicious pesto pasta salad recipe.

I love making pasta salad recipes for a quick meal. You can have this tasty pesto pasta salad for lunch or even dinner. It doesn’t need reheated so you can take it along to practices, late meetings, and for those days when you just want to avoid take out!

Pesto Pasta Salad Tips:

Before we get started I want to share some quick tips for this recipe. You can make these little changes to suit your tastes and your pantry! I’m a big fan of using what I have on hand so if you are wondering what kind of pasta you can use, if you need to use homemade pesto, and more, start here with these tips and notes.

A large bowl full of the delicious pasta salad with veggies ready to eat.

You can use whatever kind of pasta you like. I prefer to use a cheese filled tortellini or a small cheese ravioli because it gives the recipe a little more substance. If you need or want a gluten free or vegan option you can substitute that in without making any changes to the recipe. Just follow the cooking instructions on your packaging as they can sometimes vary!

You’ll notice that there’s a cup of olive oil that is marked optional. You can use as much or as little of that as you like to thin out your pesto and make it your desired thickness.

Use any type of pesto you like. It’s pretty easy to make so if you feel like having homemade pesto you can certainly make some yourself and use it for this tasty pasta salad recipe.

A shot of the finished pesto pasta salad recipe in a dish ready to share.

What does pesto taste like?

If you’ve never had pesto or are curious about the taste here’s a good description for you…

It’s a nutty, basil flavor. Typically pesto is made with basil, pecorino romano cheese, pine nuts, garlic and, first press olive oil. Simple ingredients that make for a mostly pine nut and basil centered flavor profile.

Side view of the finished bowl of pasta salad

Here’s what you’ll need to make pesto pasta salad:

  • 1 bag of cheese tortellini pasta
  • 1 8.1 ounce jar of pesto 
  • 1 cup of olive oil, optional
  • 1 cup whole fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 1 red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • Fresh basil for garnish
Pesto pasta salad with utensils ready to be enjoyed

How I make my homemade pesto pasta salad:

  1. Add pasta to 4 quarts of lightly salted water. Cook according to the instructions on the bag. While pasta is cooking, add pesto sauce to a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Add olive oil to pesto and mx well. You can leave out this step if you prefer your pesto to be thicker. Set bowl aside.
  3. Cut your tomatoes in half and set aside.
  4. Cut your peppers into rings and set aside. 
  5. Pasta should be done at this point. Remove pan from stove and drain the water. Add pasta into a large bowl and chill in the fridge. Once pasta is completely chilled, remove from fridge. Gather your ingredients.
  6. Add pesto, tomatoes, peppers, and cheese to a large serving bowl. 
  7. Using a large spoon, toss all the ingredients until well incorporated. Garnish with fresh basil if desired, serve and enjoy! 
Another pin showing the finished pesto pasta salad recipe in a bowl ready to eat.

Can you freeze pasta salad?

I wouldn’t freeze this pesto pasta salad. The pasta will get a little weird and honestly, it doesn’t last long enough in our house for there to be enough to freeze. If you feel like this will be too much for your family to eat in a timely fashion just cut the recipe in half.

Another top down view of the finished salad recipe

Can I meal prep with this recipe?

You can definitely meal prep with this recipe. I make a double batch so we’ll have some to eat for dinner and then I pack the rest of the pasta salad up in containers to grab for an easy lunch. I pair it with some fresh vegetables and I have a great meal that’s easy to grab on the run.

a close up view of the finished recipe ready to eat.

This recipe holds up well for a week in the refrigerator so there’s no weirdness or batches going bad in just a few days!

Do you have other recipes I can try?

Here are some other delicious recipes you can try. I love making pasta salad and these will hopefully give you plenty of options for your next batch!

Top down view of the finished pesto pasta salad with ravioli
Finished pasta salad in a bowl ready to eat

Printable Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe:

Yield: 12 Servings

Pesto Pasta Salad

Featured image showing the finished pesto pasta salad

This pesto pasta salad recipe is made with tiny ravioli or cheese filled tortellini pasta. It's a delicious side dish that can also be used for lunches and meal prep.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of cheese tortellini pasta
  • 1 8.1-ounce jar of pesto
  • 1 cup of olive oil, optional
  • 1 cup whole fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 1 red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
  • 1 cup tomatoes
  • Fresh basil for garnish

Instructions

    1. Add pasta to 4 quarts of lightly salted water. Cook according to the instructions on the bag. While pasta is cooking, add pesto sauce to a medium size mixing bowl.
    2. Add olive oil to pesto and mx well. You can leave out this step if you prefer your pesto to be thicker. Set bowl aside.
    3. Cut your tomatoes in half and set aside.
    4. Cut your peppers into rings and set aside.
    5. Pasta should be done at this point. Remove pan from stove and drain the water. Add pasta into a large bowl and chill in the fridge. Once pasta is completely chilled, remove from fridge. Gather your ingredients.
    6. Add pesto, tomatoes, peppers, and cheese to a large serving bowl.
    7. Using a large spoon, toss all the ingredients until well incorporated. Garnish with fresh basil if desired, serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 7g

I am not a medical expert. These calculations are provided as a courtesy.

pesto pasta salad pin with text and title in the middle.

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