All Recipes, Mains, Pasta, Salads

Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

May 20, 2019 (Last updated September 7, 2021) · Nicole Triebe

Italian Pesto Pasta Salad is the perfect quick and tasty side dish! Made with flavorful pesto, farfalle noodles, spicy pepperoni and juicy cherry tomatoes, it will be your go-to side dish all year long!

Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad in bowl

Summer BBQs are around the corner, and pasta salad is a must have for all of your summer gatherings. It’s an easy, fresh, flavorful, and the whole thing can be put together in 20 minutes! I’m adding a little little kick your traditional pasta salad with some spicy pepperoni and some bruschetta tomatoes.

Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad ingredients

How do you make Italian Pesto Pasta Salad?

First things first: Boil the pasta. Easy enough, right? I chose to use Farfalle because I love the cute shape, but any pasta with grooves would work! The grooves hold every bit of delicious pesto and pack an extra flavorful punch in each bite.  Once the pasta is cooked to al dente and drained, place it in a large bowl and mix in fresh arugula, bruschetta tomatoes, sliced pepperoni, and feta cheese. Bind it all together with your favorite pesto sauce and serve!

What kind of pesto should I use?

I always say that homemade pesto is the best, but sometimes that’s just not an option.  There are plenty of great options out there.  My all time favorite is the Kirkland brand.  Costco has a big jar of it! If you don’t use it all right away, you can freeze the rest for another time.

Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad mixed in bowl

How much pasta salad will I need to feed my guests?

I always have to stop and some some math when I am prepping food for a party.  My rule of thumb is to first take the number of guests and round up.  For pasta salad, you should estimate that each guest will eat 5 ounces of pasta salad.  If you’re having 20 people over, multiple 20 by 5 oz to get 100 oz, then divide by 16 (for 16 oz per pound).  That equals 6.25. I would round this up to either 6.5 or 7 pounds of pasta salad.  I am a huge fan of leftovers so 7 is my magic number. 

Can I make pasta salad the day before?

One of the great things about this dish is that it can be prepped ahead of time! I think the flavors are even better the next day, too!  If you are prepping the day before, follow this tip: Toss the pasta with about two-thirds of the dressing while prepping, and add the remainder right before serving! 
 

How long is pasta salad good for?

When the party is over, if there’s Italian pesto pasta salad left over, you can save them to eat the rest of the week!  Store it in an air tight container to keep out moisture and other contaminants in the fridge, and it will keep for 5 to 7 days.

If you loved this post, be sure to check out my smoky summer slaw!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Easy Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

  • Author: Nicole Triebe
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Scale

For the bruschetta tomatoes:

4 ripe tomatoes on the vine, chopped and seeded

10 large basil leaves, chiffonade, plus some for garnish (I love Gotham Greens Basil)

3 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp sugar

3 tbl olive oil

For the pasta salad: 

  • 12 ounces corkscrew pasta or any short pasta type
  • 1 cup basil pesto
  • 1 1/2 cups bruschetta tomatoes
  • 3/4 cups feta cheese 
  • 3/4 pound pepperoni, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives pitted and halved
  • 2 cups arugula

Instructions

Combine first 6 ingredients and set aside for a minimum of 20 minutes. 

Cook pasta until al dente (about 8-10 minutes).  Drain and place in large bowl for mixing and let cool slightly.  

Mix in pesto, fresh arugula, bruschetta tomatoes, sliced pepperoni, and feta cheese. Garnish with additional feta and serve! 

Keywords: pasta salad; side dish

Want to pin this for later? Click on the image below!

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply Amy May 27, 2019 at 4:28 am

    This was delicious! I love the addition of the greens to this salad as it makes it lighter than a traditional pasta salad. Anything with Kirkland pesto is guaranteed to be amazing I think! I can’t wait to try the bruschetta tomatoes on some crusty Italian bread! This salad was quick to make and a total crowd pleaser!

  • Leave a Reply

    Recipe rating