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Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

5 from 2 votes

posted: 06/26/19

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Easy Pesto Pasta Salad is perfect for get togethers! It is only FOUR INGREDIENTS and comes together in a snap! You are going to love this pasta salad recipe and bring it to all your summer picnics and BBQs!

bowl of pesto pasta salad with fork coming out

I love easy recipes that I can throw together in a snap to bring to get-togethers and this one definitely fits the bill. With only four ingredients, you are going to love this Easy Pesto Pasta Salad recipe.

The flavors of the fresh mozzarella and the ripe cherry tomatoes go perfectly with the pesto in this salad. This is also a great summer time recipe because you can make your own pesto with basil from your garden and grab a container of cherry tomatoes from the farmer’s market. I would say to get those from your garden too, but my kiddos usually eat those plants clean.

Ingredients for Pesto Pasta Salad

  • PASTA:  I used cavatappi because those spirals hold pesto sauce so well, but you could also use elbows. Get something with a curl to it.
  • TOMATOES: You want to get cherry tomatoes because they hold up best in this pasta salad, maintaining their shape and not getting mushy.
  • MOZZARELLA PEARLS: I went for the pearls because they mimic the same size and shape as the tomatoes which is great for bites. You could also go with the big ball, but make sure you buy fresh mozzarella.
overhead view of easy pesto pasta salad

Pesto Sauce

I used a store bought pesto sauce in this recipe, but if you have a homemade recipe that you love, go for it! I love pasta salads for how easy they are to change up. This is a very accommodating recipe.

Whatever you decide to use, you will need 1 cup.

Cooking Your Noodles to Perfection

It sounds like a no brainer, but one of the big keys to a perfect pasta salad recipe is the noodles. Following the directions on the box is always a great idea, since different noodle types (i.e. penne, cavatappi, elbow macaroni) for a different lengths of time.

Make sure to bring your water to a roaring boil before adding the pasta. Salt the water. Cook the noodles based not the time on the box. Drain when they have just a little bit of a bite left to them.

Since this pesto pasta salad recipe  is a cold pasta salad, you want to drain the noodles and rinse them with cold water to stop them from cooking. 

overhead view of easy pesto pasta salad

More Great Summer Sides

I’ve been bulking up the blog with great recipes for you guys to bring to your summer picnics and BBQs in addition to this pesto pasta salad. Here are a few I am loving:

  • Italian Pasta Salad:  This one is a classic. It is easy to throw together and more than that, I love how beautiful it looks. But I’m kind of a nerd like that.
  • Strawberry Spinach Salad:  The poppyseed balsamic dressing on this salad is to die for. Your family will love this and you will love how easy it is to make!
  • Pico de Gallo:  Every great party needs great appetizers, and I’m in love with this simple recipe for how perfect it is.
  • Bacon Spinach Salad: This spinach salad with it’s bacon and water chestnuts is a hallmark of my family get togethers!

More Great Pasta Salad Recipes

If you are looking for even more pasta salads to bring to a party, make sure you check out these goodies:

If you make this Pesto Pasta Salad recipe for your family be sure to leave me a comment letting me know what you think.

bowl of easy pesto pasta salad
overhead view of easy pesto pasta salad
5 from 2 votes

Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

Serves: 10 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
This Easy Pesto Pasta Salad is perfect for get togethers!  It is only FOUR INGREDIENTS and comes together in a snap! You are going to love this pasta salad recipe and bring it to all your summer picnics and BBQs!


  • 1 pound pasta I used cavatappi
  • 10.5 ounces cherry tomatoes cut small
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls
  • 8 ounces jar of pesto


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
  • Mix in the tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto into the pasta.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Serving: 1cup Calories: 300kcal (15%) Carbohydrates: 34g (11%) Protein: 12g (24%) Fat: 13g (20%) Saturated Fat: 4g (25%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 12mg (4%) Sodium: 394mg (17%) Potassium: 71mg (2%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 3g (3%) Vitamin A: 800IU (16%) Vitamin C: 3.3mg (4%) Calcium: 90mg (9%) Iron: 1.4mg (8%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
overhead view of easy pesto pasta salad

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Easy Pesto Pasta Salad

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says

    Mel plays it when it gets big. My parents played twice a week my entire childhood. It got to the point they couldn’t stop – because then their numbers would come up, lol.

    Pesto is my lottery. LOVE!

  2. Amy says

    We can all dream of living in fantasy land right? Life is more fun that way.

    I love pesto and this looks like such a refreshing way to use it! I make pesto when my garden is in full swing, freeze it and enjoy it all winter long. I posted the recipe on my blog earlier this year. Here’s the linkhttp://wp.me/p3plic-oa

  3. Heather @ French Press says

    we don’t play the lottery very often,but I am always convinced I’ve got the ticket!! not sure what I’d do if I won , but it is fun to think about! LOVE this pasta

  4. Ashley says

    I love how easy this pasta salad is! Simple things are my go to, especially in the craziness of the summer!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you love it!

  5. Arpita says

    Oh my!! I love pesto.. This salad looks great!!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners