This Pesto Pasta Salad will be your best friend on a hot summer day. It’s light, fresh and notably flavorful. It only takes a few minutes to put together and it’s a crowd pleaser! It’s one of the best cool dishes for a hot summer day.
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If there is a time when we need to come up with the easiest and quickest recipes on Earth, that will be summertime. The kids are running around the house full-time or have somehow managed to get the whole family to go to a park, lake or swimming pool.
Time is just short!
There are too many fun things to do and too many chores and daily tasks piling up because we can’t keep up. There are graduation parties, school musicals or recitals to go to, weddings, and family trips to name a few.
I get it! The busyness takes over and that’s why today I’m sharing this delicious, quick & easy, Pesto Pasta Salad recipe. It is inspired in my friend Lora’s pasta salad recipe because she is a wizard in the kitchen!
The salad is incredibly tasty and easy to put together, so I felt like I needed to create my own version of it with ingredients that I normally have at my house.
What you’ll need for this Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
Like I said, I created this recipe using ingredients that I usually have in my fridge and pantry, so you can absolutely do the same!
You don’t have to use the exact same ingredients that I did. It all depends on what you have available at your house. Although, I chose these because I think they go well together.
You’ll need Pesto sauce. It will be easier if you have a canned, ready-to-eat Pesto sauce (I use Prego Basil Pesto Italian Sauce), but if you don’t here are the basic ingredients of a pesto sauce: extra virgin olive oil, nuts, garlic, fresh herbs (usually basil, but spinach, arugula, kale, and parsley can also be used), grated parmesan cheese. Go here for the full recipe and step-by-step instructions on how to make it.
You’ll also need a pasta of your choice (which in this case I’m using Macaroni), veggies (like green beans, peas, pickles or olives), salt, pepper, shredded cheese (cheddar or another cheese you have at home), parmesan cheese, tomato, and sometimes I also add corn.
Browse your fridge and pantry and look for what kind of veggies you can add to your salad.
What can you serve this Pesto Pasta Salad with?
In our home, we’ve had this salad in a variety of ways. Today, for instance, we served it with a delicious lemon butter sauteed shrimp! A few weeks ago, we had it with chicken nuggets, because we didn’t have enough time to get any other type of meat ready.🙈
You know the struggle, right?
This pasta salad would also go really well with slow-cooked Pulled Pork or even pork ribs. Roasted chicken breast would also taste delicious. Or even if you’re having a family BBQ, this dish is the perfect pairing. This might just be one of the most versatile side dishes I’ve ever made.
What to do with your Pesto Pasta Salad Leftovers
If you have a smaller family, like I do, you might have a lot of leftovers since this recipe serves from 6 to 8 people. In our home (we’re 2 adults and 2 young kids), we ate the salad as a side dish in 2 different meals and we still had plenty of leftovers.
So here’s what I did… I added homemade Alfredo sauce, heated everything up and laid it on an oven-safe baking dish (I love Pyrex for everything! It’s durable and clear, so you can serve out of the oven straight to the table and it won’t look ugly like the metal ones do)!
Then, I covered it with cheddar cheese and broiled it until the cheese was browned. It took me about 10 minutes to prepare it this way and in the end, we had a delicious, creamy, Mac N’ Cheese!
I really hope your family enjoys the deliciousness of this dish and that you can experience a little bit of peace given the simplicity of the preparation steps and how quickly you can toss it together.
Here’s another quick dish that you can make in under 30 minutes: Ground Turkey Cheesy Potato Skillet
Now, would you be kind enough to share with us any other ideas you like to use on busy days? What recipes are your go-to’s? We’d love to know!