Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

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This is the most Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad recipe ever! It only uses a few simple ingredients, and it tastes like summer in a bowl. I can’t get enough!

Simple Italian Pasta Salad, Creamy Taco Pasta Salad and Classic Tuna Pasta Salad are all great pasta salads to bring to a party!

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Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

Looking for a super simple side dish to make all summer long? Well I have just the recipe for you today! This super easy Pesto Pasta Salad is one of my all-time favorite quick and easy side dishes that I serve all summer long. This is the perfect addition to any meal (it’s great with a bit of grilled fish, some seasonal fruit, and a loaf of crusty bread), it travels well so it’s great to take to a party, and the leftovers are one of our favorite simple summertime lunches. You just can’t beat simple seasonal ingredients that come together with very little effort or fuss.

I have a cousin who lives a few hours away who has started a summer side business of making the most delicious pesto I’ve ever eaten. Lucky for me, her mother-in-law lives just down the road from me. When she’s coming to town she always asks if I’d like her to bring over a batch of her fresh homemade pesto. It’s thick, it’s creamy, and it tastes like summer. I can’t wait for her to start making it again this year. If you can use fresh pesto for this recipe, I’d recommend it. You can make it, get it from your cousin, or pick some up at the farmer’s market. If you don’t have any fresh pesto, the shelf-stable jarred kind from the store works well, too. I’ve used both with great success.

When it comes to the mozzarella, the fresher the better. I’ve seen people use cute mini mozzarella balls in recipes and though I couldn’t find any close to me I think they would look and taste great in this recipe. And like all of the other ingredients, the closer to garden fresh the tomatoes can be, the better. When you only have a handful of ingredients in the recipe, it’s important they they are all as good of quality as you can get.

Tips for making the best Pesto Pasta Salad

  • The fresher the ingredients the better.
  • This travels well when kept cool.
  • The pesto absorbs into the pasta when it sits so either plan on adding half the dressing when you make it and half the dressing when you serve it or simply add another spoonful of pesto and a drizzle of olive oil before eating the leftovers.

Do I salt the water when boiling pasta?

Yes! The salty water adds flavor to the pasta. Add a least 1 tablespoon of salt per pound of pasta.

What should I serve with pasta salad?

This is delicious served with a berry loaded side salad and a loaf of no-knead crusty bread.

How can you tell when pasta is cooked?

Taste it! If the noodle is still a bit firm, it’s done.

The easiest Pesto Pasta Salad ever! This recipe only calls for a few simple ingredient and it tastes like summer.
Image of Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad
No ratings yet

Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

This is the most Quick & Easy Pesto Pasta Salad recipe ever! It only uses a few simple ingredients, and it tastes like summer in a bowl. I can't get enough!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 2 cups small dry pasta, about 8 ounces
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella, in bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons pesto
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
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  • Cook the pasta according to package directions until it is cooked al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • Add the pasta to a medium mixing bowl. Add mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and basil.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the pesto and olive oil.
  • Add the pesto dressing to the pasta.
  • Stir everything together until it is all well-coated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve right away.


Add a little more pesto and olive oil to this salad on the second day to refresh the leftovers before serving.


Serving: 1 of 10 servings, Calories: 197kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 117mg, Potassium: 137mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 333IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 74mg, Iron: 1mg
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Enjoy this Pesto Pasta Salad recipe! It only uses a few simple ingredients, and it tastes like summer in a bowl.

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  1. Jen | So Damn Delish says:

    Something about summer just says pasta salad and I’m always up for anything quick and easy! Can’t wait to try this with your no-knead crusty bread. Looking forward to all the other pasta salad recipes that are coming!

    1. Melissa says:

      That bread is legit the best. Sometimes I even make it into more of a baguette shape and serve it up for bruschetta with summer tomatoes!

  2. Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says:

    Melissa, I feel like you were channeling me when you created this recipe! I LOVE everything going on in here–I actually have some mini mozzarella balls in my fridge right now because they’re my fave afternoon snack :). I know this is going to make an appearance in my kitchen soon. If only I could convince one of my cousins to make some pesto I’d be all set!

    1. Melissa says:

      I’ll ship you some! That fresh cousin-made pesto is life changing.