That right there is a bowl of summer love, my friends! As soon as I shared my fave pesto recipe with you guys, I knew I had to make and share this spinach pesto pasta salad asap! It’s fresh, so easy to toss together and perfect for when it’s too hot to turn the oven on. It’s quickly become my go-to summer dish, well this and the heavenly cupcakes that are coming your way next week, but you get the point!
You guys know I’m all about dinners that are quick to throw together and packed with flavor, so this is a no-brainer. And it’s one of those recipes that you can totally make your own, which I love! I always toss tomatoes in because I cannot get enough of them, but I also like to thrown in anything I’ve got in the fridge that needs to be used up. I love adding zucchini, if I don’t use it all up making cake 😉 I’ve also thrown in broccoli before – so, so good! Add chicken for protein, and fresh basil tossed in right before you serve it is amazing!
It’s also one of those dishes that gets even better the next day. Once everyone has time to get to know each other, the flavors really come out!
I do use a little mayo in this recipe and find that it definitely needs it. If I was going to eat this right away as a warm pasta dish, I wouldn’t add it, but as a chilled summer salad, you need a little. I usually just add a little when I make it, pop it in the fridge and later on before I serve it, I taste it to see if it needs a little more.
I really hope you guys try this one, it’s full of summer flavors and the pesto really shines! And I promise we shall return to all things sweet in the next few days!
- 1 and 1/2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
- 1/2 cup lightly packed basil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces pasta, uncooked
- 1/2 cup spinach pesto
- 2-4 Tbsp. mayo
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse spinach, basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice until coarsely chopped.
- With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth.
- Scrape down the bowl of the food processor and taste to adjust seasoning.
- Use immediately or transfer to an air-tight container until ready to use.
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. I find this is 8 minutes for me.
- Drain and run under cold water.
- In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the pesto with 2 Tablespoons of mayo. Add cooled pasta and toss to combine. Give it a taste to adjust the seasoning.
- Add remaining pesto and toss to combine. Taste to see if it needs any additional mayo and adjust accordingly.
- Toss in cherry tomatoes.
- Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe can be adjusted to your taste by using all basil, or half basil, half spinach.
If using this pesto for pasta, I normally add a few extra cloves of garlic and up the cheese to 1/3 cup. It all depends on what I'm using the pesto for.
If you like a thinner pesto, you can add an additional Tablespoon or 2 of olive oil.
I add 2 Tablespoons of mayo when I make it and then before I serve it, I taste to see if it needs any more.
I use the full 1/2 cup of pesto when making this, but you can definitely add less or more depending on your preference.
I find that if it sits in the fridge a few days, I add a little more pesto to wake it up!