Pesto Pasta

5 from 2 votes

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My simple Pesto Pasta is a dish that is truly more than the sum of its parts! Combine fresh pesto with your favorite pasta and a few pantry staples to create a rich, herby, and salty side dish that will pair perfectly with a wide variety of entrées.

pesto pasta on a white plate
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Pesto Pasta

When it comes to side dishes that pack a punch, nothing is quite as easy and flavorful as my pesto pasta. Adding this salty, basil-and-garlic-packed pasta to your plate is sure to brighten up any heavy meal. Pair this one pot, five-ingredient pasta with your favorite grilled meat, sautéed veggie dish, or oven baked fish.

The best part? This bright and savory pesto pasta can be made in just 20 minutes, making it the perfect last minute side dish! No one is going to be sad when they see you’re serving this colorful and flavorful easy pesto pasta with dinner.

pesto pasta twirled on a fork


  • Spaghetti—Or your favorite pasta shape.
  • Pesto—A classic Italian sauce made of blended basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese.
  • Parmesan Cheese—Grated will add some extra saltiness to this dish.
  • Basil—Fresh and chopped if desired.
  • Italian Seasoning—Store bought or your own homemade blend of herbs and spices.

How to Make Easy Pesto Pasta

  1. In a large pot, cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Drain thoroughly.
  2. To the spaghetti, add the peso, Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese. 
  3. Use tongs to fold everything together until the cheese is melted and evenly distributed throughout the pasta.
  4. Garnish with fresh basil and additional parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy! 
pesto pasta recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

What meat goes well with pesto pasta?

If you want to add some protein to this dish, I highly recommend adding some grilled chicken or Italian sausage to your finished pasta. However, almost any protein will pair well with the fresh herby flavor of this dish. Toss in some steak, pork, tofu, or even shrimp! You can’t go wrong!

Is pesto or tomato sauce healthier?

I find that it’s a bit of a toss-up between the two. Tomato sauce is lower in calories, but pesto is higher in nutrients and fiber. I would base your choice on the overall flavor you want your pasta dish to have. Tomato sauce is sweeter with earthy notes whereas pesto is brighter and saltier with strong notes of garlic.

How do you make store bought pesto better?

When shopping for a pre-made pesto sauce, I recommend looking in the refrigerated section of the grocery store; there you will find the freshest, most flavorful pesto! However, if you happen to already have some shelf-stable pesto lying around, you can amp up its natural flavors by adding some extra salt, parmesan cheese, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

pesto over pasta in a sauce pan

Recipe Variations

Make this dish a little less carb heavy by swapping out the spaghetti for chickpea pasta, lentil pasta, edamame pasta, zucchini noodles, or cauliflower rice. This also will make your pesto pasta gluten free! 

Give your easy pesto pasta an extra zing of flavor with creative garnishes! Try adding a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, some cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, or a handful of toasted pine nuts. 

Looking for an easy way to sneak extra veggies into your diet? Try blending your pesto sauce with some spinach, peas, microgreens, or broccoli before adding it to the cooked pasta. 

pesto pasta sauce pan

How to Store and Serve Basil Pesto Pasta

Leftover basil pesto pasta stores beautifully and makes for delectable leftovers! Simply place your leftover pasta in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Allow any frozen pasta to thaw completely before heating it on the stovetop or in the microwave. Feel free to add additional parmesan cheese as the pasta reheats—this will help to emulsify the mixture.

I like serving this homemade pesto pasta as a side dish alongside protein-heavy entrées such as grilled chicken, steak, or pork chops. You can also try pairing this bright and zingy dish with some more muted sides like roasted potatoes, steamed cauliflower, or a caprese salad.

Expert Tips and Tricks 

  • If you don’t have any premade Italian seasoning on hand, you can make your own by combining equal parts thyme, oregano, and garlic salt. 
  • Add a sense of elegance to this simple side dish by swapping out the grated parmesan cheese for freshly shredded or sliced parmesan. 
  • Give this dish a bit of spice by garnishing the pesto pasta with crushed red pepper flakes.
pesto pasta on a white plate

More Recipes

If you’ve tried this Pesto Pasta recipe or any other recipe on Bless This Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories.

pesto pasta on a white plate
5 from 2 votes

Pesto Pasta

Simple Pesto Pasta is a dish that is truly more than the sum of its parts! Combine fresh pesto with your favorite pasta and a few pantry staples to create a rich, herby, and salty side dish that will pair perfectly with a wide variety of entrées.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 18 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 ½ cups pesto
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
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  • Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions.
  • Once the noodles have been fully cooked and drained, add the pesto, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. Fold the ingredients together using tongs or a large spoon until the noodles are evenly coated.
  • Top your pasta with some fresh basil and extra Parmesan cheese.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • This pasta is best served fresh; however, it can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat your pasta in the microwave for about a minute on full power.
  • This pasta is also great topped with a teaspoon of fresh pine nuts.
  • We like to use one 12.5 ounce container of Rana pesto in this recipe, but any brand will work as long as you have about 1 1/2 cups. Costco also sell a great Kirkland Signature pesto in the refrigerated section if you won’t want to make your own. 
  • You can make your own Italian seasoning by combining equal parts thyme, oregano, and garlic salt.


Serving: 1 of 4 servings, Calories: 752kcal, Carbohydrates: 72g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 41g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 1175mg, Potassium: 224mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2117IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 408mg, Iron: 2mg
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Pesto Pasta is a quick and easy dish that is packed with flavor and is done in 20 minutes. It makes the perfect weeknight meal or can be dressed up for a special occasion.

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