Fusilli pasta is tossed with fresh basil, creamy pesto, juicy cherry tomatoes and intensely flavored sundried tomatoes. Walnut pieces are added for crunch and the pasta salad is finished off with grated parmesan cheese.
Pesto Pasta Salad with Sundried Tomatoes is the perfect summer side dish. When you bring this pasta salad to your next family cookout, everyone will be thanking you!
This is another simple side dish that can be made at the last minute. Most of the ingredients are items that can be kept on hand in your pantry for several months. The fresh ingredients needed for a pasta pesto salad with sundried tomatoes are abundant in the summer months, but can also be found year-round at the grocery store!
- Pasta - I recommend using a fusilli noodle. Fusilli noodles are spiral shaped noodles that hold onto sauce really well. I photographed my ingredients with Rao's Homemade pasta. I highly recommend this brand! They are an authentic Italian brand that only uses premium ingredients. You truly can taste the difference in the flavor and texture of the pasta. If you don't have any spiral noodles then penne or shells would work well too.
- Sundried Tomatoes - Sundried tomatoes have an intense umami flavor. Due to the savory & rich flavor, a little goes a long way! I used sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil. You can also find sundried tomatoes that are in a plastic bag and not packed in oil. These tomatoes need to be rehydrated with a little bit of water before using.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese - This recipe calls for an entire cup of grated parm! The parmesan coats the noodles, absorbs some of the oil from the pesto and sundried tomatoes and adds gritty texture to every bite.
- Fresh Basil - What is a summer meal without fresh basil? In the hot, summer months, I find myself adding basil to anything and everything I can. If you aren't growing your own basil, you can find it in abundant quantities at summer farmer's markets and also year-round in the produce section of the grocery store. When you bring your fresh basil home, do NOT put it in the refrigerator. If you do, the leaves will turn black and wilt. Store fresh basil like you would keep fresh flowers. Trim the ends and place them in a cup with some water on your kitchen counter.
- Pesto - If you enjoy making your own pesto then by all means, whip up your own batch of fresh basil pesto for this recipe. I don’t always have the ingredients on hand for homemade pesto sauce though, so I always have a jar of DeLallo Simply Pesto Traditional Basil in my kitchen cabinets. DeLallo brand basil pesto can be found in the grocery store in the pasta aisle near the marinara sauces.
- Cherry Tomatoes - I opted for a combination of yellow and red tomatoes. Use whatever you prefer! The cherry tomatoes add sweetness and pops of color to the pesto pasta salad.
- Walnuts - You will need walnut halves/pieces for this recipe. You can purchase them already chopped, or chop them up yourself. The walnuts add a mild, earthy crunch.
If you're looking for more recipes that feature summery-fresh basil & pesto, try my Caprese Chicken Sandwich with Basil Pesto Mayo, Pesto Turkey Meatballs with Ricotta Cheese, and my Zucchini & Feta Breakfast Skillet.
- Large soup pot to cook the pasta in
- Large mixing bowl
- Cutting board & chopping knife
- Measuring cups
How to make
This is a super simple recipe that can be whipped up in under 30 minutes. It can be made days in advance or an hour and a half before you want to serve it.
- Cook your pasta.
- Chop up the cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and sundried tomatoes.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Serve with grilled chicken, broiled cod or alongside a juicy steak!
- Take a heaping cupful of the sundried tomato pasta salad and serve it over fresh salad greens.
- Take this to your next BBQ, cookout or potluck.
- Serve alongside my Roasted Dijon Chicken Thighs!
This salad will keep in the refrigerator in a sealed, air-tight container for up to 3 days.
This pasta salad is vegetarian as their is no meat in this recipe. It is not vegan though. This is a cheese packed pasta salad! I did not make my pasta salad gluten free, however you could easily make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free pasta.
You could add a layer of pesto to any sandwich or wrap. Top roasted chicken or broiled fish with a dollop of pesto. Many of my recipes call for a pesto mayo spread. You could also use it as a marinade for veggies or chicken.
Did you make this recipe at home? Leave me a review below and tell me all about it!