Pesto Pasta Salad

When people ask “What’s your favorite food?” I always answer “Pesto.” TBH, most people don’t ask, but I tell them anyway. Pesto really is my favorite because it is so versatile and refreshing. You’ll see a lot of recipes out there for spinach or kale pesto, but in my opinion, it always has to be basil (but I’ll still eat any pesto, obviously).

The one ingredient I think you can change up here is the nuts. Traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts, but they’re usually on the pricier side. I’m a big fan of subbing with walnuts or cashews (especially since most of us veggie folks have cashews on hand).

This is one of my go-to summer recipes, and is a fantastic dish to bring to a potluck or barbeque. It can also be served hot if that’s the kind of thing you’re into!

What’s your favorite dish to bring to a summer party? Let me know in the comments tag me on Instagram!  

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PESTO PASTA SALAD

1 lb. dry pasta (I prefer a farfalle or fusilli for this)
1 bunch asparagus, bottoms trimmed
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh basil
1 lemon, juiced
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts, walnuts or cashews
2-3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil with 1 tbsp salt. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water by letting them cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they turn a pretty bright green.
  2. Using a spider or tongs, transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water, but leave the hot water behind in the pot. Once the asparagus have cooled, remove them from the ice water and onto a cutting board. Slice them into thirds and set aside.
  3. Bring the “asparagus water” back to a boil, and add in the dry pasta. Follow the cooking instructions to cook until al dente. Reserve a little of the asparagus/pasta water, and drain the pasta.
  4. To make the pesto, combine the basil, lemon juice, toasted nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast in a blender or food processor. Once decently blended, add in about ¼ of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the asparagus, pasta, pesto and tomatoes. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
  6. Enjoy!