The simplest make-ahead side dish that’s perfect for any occasion – Incredibly Easy Pesto Pasta Salad has just six simple ingredients for a fresh and classic pasta dish everyone loves.
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This is one of those dishes I’ve been making since college, so I thought it was time to share. It’s sort of dangerous(-ly delicious), which is why I usually only make it for special occasions and food/friend gatherings. Plus, I shouldn’t even have to mention, it’s super duper easy.
Here’s how to make it:
- boil pasta
- let it cool a little
- add everything else
Reasons I was not good at making pasta in college:
- I didn’t wait for the water to fully boil before adding the noodles.
- I didn’t use a large enough pot for the amount of noodles.
- OR I didn’t set a timer to know how long to cook the noodles.
Don’t make the same mistakes as college me! I’m way better at this now. Perfectly cooked pasta can be the base to many dishes, so I’m glad my skills have evolved.
I think the best part is the pasta can be made ahead and go anywhere. Holidays. Parties. Dinner. Friday night 👍
More make-ahead dishes from Project Meal Plan:
- How to Make and Freeze Homemade Pizza Sauce
- Freezer Friendly Sweet Potato Brownie Bites
- Veggie Packed Greek Yogurt Tuna Salad (No Mayo!)
Incredibly Easy Pesto Pasta Salad – just 6 simple ingredients for the best make-ahead side dish!
- 1 pound farfalle (bowtie) pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (avocado oil works too)
- 6 oz. (3/4 cup) traditional prepared pesto
- 2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2.25 oz. can sliced black olives, drained
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Prepare pasta to ‘al dente’ per box instructions. Drain and run cold water through the pasta in the strainer for a few seconds.
- Add pasta to a large mixing bowl. Add oil, followed by all remaining ingredients. Stir until well mixed.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can also use whole wheat pasta, but you might have to add a little more oil as it tends to be a little drier than regular pasta.
My thoughts on pesto: Store-Bought Vs. Homemade Pesto: Which is Cheaper?
Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal.
- Serving Size: 2/3 cup
- Calories: 405
- Fat: 20g
- Carbohydrates: 45g
- Protein: 14g
To make this recipe, I used:
Thank you so much for checking out the Incredibly Easy Pesto Pasta Salad (and making it to the bottom)! You won’t believe how easy it is. Be sure to use #projectmealplan on social media if you make this recipe! Follow me on Pinterest for meal inspiration every single day!