Italian Pesto Pasta Salad is an easy pasta salad that’s full of flavor! It’s perfect for any night of the week or take it to your next summer BBQ.
It’s not summer until you are enjoying a dinner on the patio with a delicious pasta salad to accompany your grilling recipes! This Italian Pesto Pasta Salad is so full of flavor with white kidney beans, homemade pesto, pine nuts and Italian Salad Dressing!
I’m always in need of a new side dish to go along with my grilled things like steak kabobs and this cold pasta salad is a good one!! There are so many ways to change it up that way you never get bored!
Why this recipe works:
- You can make this cold pasta salad 24 hours in advance and store in the refrigerator.
- There are so many different ways to switch up the flavors. You can even add in leftover grilled chicken and make it your lunch or dinner!
- Tips on how to prep the pasta before hand so you can toss it together quickly whenever you want.
- Pasta – We recommend a short type of pasta which includes elbow macaroni, farfalle, fusilli, rotini, penne, rigatoni and any other shorter shapes.
- White Kidney beans – A substitute would be great northern beans.
- Pesto sauce – Homemade is always the best but you can pick this up at the grocery store in the refrigerated section too!
- Cherry tomatoes – I prefer the sweet cherry tomatoes.
- Italian salad dressing
- Olives – A great choice is Kalamata olives.
- Parmesan cheese – Grab a block and grate it yourself!
- Pine nuts – These can be expensive so check and see if you can find them in the bulk bins.
Steps to Prepare
- Cook Pasta – Choose your type of pasta you wish to use and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse the pasta in cold water (this will stop the cooking process and keep it from sticking together).
- Mix Dressing – While your pasta is cooking stir together the pesto, Italian dressing, beans, tomatoes, olives, and cheese.
- Combine – Toss the noodles in the sauce and top with the pine nuts.
If you aren’t planning on serving the pasta salad right away hold off on sprinkling with the pine nuts.
Can you cook pasta ahead of time?
You bet! Cook the pasta to al dente and rinse it well in cold water. Adding a touch olive and toss to mix. The olive oil will keep the pasta from sticking together. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use.
Additionally cold pasta will not absorb as much salad dressing.
More Mix-In Ideas!
- Green onions
- Red bell pepper
- Fresh peas
- Grilled corn
- Shredded carrots
This pasta salad recipe can be changed up very easily. Add in your favorite rotisserie or grilled chicken, any type of short pasta works great or try cheese tortellini.
Make this pasta salad recipe your own by changing out the white beans for garbanzo beans. Add fresh mozzarella balls, add cucumber or spinach.
Pretty much anything that goes well in a salad will work here!
Another reason why I like this cold pesto pasta salad or really any pasta salad is because they are pretty easy to make and so much flavor!!
Well, I hope you all enjoy this summery salad as much as we do!
Make it a Meal!
- Toss your chicken in this delicious BBQ Chicken Marinade. So tender and juicy!
- It’s not summer until you have a ice cold glass of this Naturally Sweetened Iced Peach Green Tea!
- Finish your meal with delicious Strawberry Crisp. So easy to toss together, yet so delicious.
Try it and love it? Rate it, please! Seriously though a five-star rating below will make my day!
If you snap a photo, please be sure tag me on Instagram at @julieseatsandtreats or #julieseatsandtreats so I can see your yummy treat!!
- 8 oz dried pasta, use a short pasta such as penne, rotini, macaroni or something similar
- 15 oz can white kidney beans or great northern beans drained and rinsed
- ½ cup pesto sauce homemade or store bought
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup Italian salad dressing
- ¼ cup sliced kalamata olives
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water.
- Meanwhile in a large bowl combine the pesto, Italian dressing, beans, tomatoes, olives, and cheese. Stir in pasta.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Top with toasted pine nuts just before serving.
- I STRONGLY suggest you spend the extra time to make your own pesto for this salad if you can. It makes all the difference.
- You can make this pesto pasta salad 24 hours in advance and store in the refrigerator.
- This salad can be changed up very easily. Add in your favorite rotisserie or grilled chicken, any type of short pasta works great or try cheese tortellini, change out the white beans for garbanzo beans, add in fresh mozzarella balls, add cucumber or spinach.