It’s easy because, you guessed it, I used a jar of Red Pesto! Sometimes life does call for convenience and there is nothing wrong with popping a lid every once in a while. This Easy Red Pesto Pasta Salad was put together from start to finish in just 15 minutes. That makes it a worthy summer salad in my books. Cook pasta, chop veggies and add the jar. Done!
The other day when I was putting this together, I realized I never ever make pasta salads. In fact, to the point where out of more than 80 salads and side dishes on the blog, just a small handful of pasta salads.
At the beginning of this summer I set out a challenge in my mind to make more pasta salads and I have failed myself miserably. That being said, my Zucchini Pasta Salad in a Lemon Vinaigrette is on the blog and delish!
Why Not Make Your Own Red Pesto
So why not make your own red pesto right? Well, I do from time to time. But it just so happened the other day I had a jar in the pantry. So a jar it was.
What We Need To Make The Easy Red Pesto Pasta Salad
- 8 oz Spiral pasta
- Red Pesto
- 1/2 red onion
- Red pepper
- Green pepper
- Yellow pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Small bunch of fresh basil
REMEMBER, The full recipe and ingredient list is found at the end of the post in the recipe card.
- Cook pasta – Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes. Remove and drain. Rinse in cold water and drain until no more water comes out of the pasta. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
- Assemble salad – Add the red pesto and stir well. Add all the vegetables and stir until combined well. Stir in parmesan cheese and fresh basil, reserving a small amount of each for garnish. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Can be served cold or at room temperature.
- Refrigerate – Will keep up to two days covered in the refrigerator.
Can I prepare this Salad in Advance
Yes, absolutely! In fact this salad is ever better a few hours after you make it or even make it in the morning to serve in the evening. So, it’s honestly a great make ahead salad. It’s also a great salad to bring to potlucks and summer barbecues.
What would go great with this Red Pesto Pasta Salad
- Chicken – The Grilled Barbecue Chicken Skewers would go fantastic with this for a great summer meal. Or even the Cheesy Barbecue Chicken Sliders.or my delicious Chicken Cutlet Sandwiches with Roasted Italian Peppers.
- Pork or Beef – Why not serve it alongside the Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs or the Barbecue Beef Kebabs
- Seafood – The Grilled Shrimp with Chimichurri Salad would also be a great idea.
If you have never had red pesto, it is delicious. It’s usually made using sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts, basil and olive oil. That is a basic recipe, but you get many variations. When I make it, those are the only ingredients I use. If you do a search, a million varieties will come up. Now that I have talked about this, I realize I am going to have to write a recipe soon for this pesto. Coming up!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can easily substitute red pesto for green pesto. Green pesto is made with basil and pine nuts and red pesto is made with sun dried tomatoes.
Red pesto is commonly used in pasta dishes. You can also add it to sauces, chicken dishes or have it as a dipping sauce for bread.
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Get the recipe!
Easy Red Pesto Pasta Salad
- 8 oz Spiral pasta uncooked
- 1/2 Cup red pesto
- 1/2 red onion diced small
- 1/2 Red pepper diced small
- 1/2 Green pepper diced small
- 1/2 Yellow pepper diced small
- 1/2 Cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- Small bunch of fresh basil roughly chopped
- Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes. Remove and drain. Rinse in cold water and drain until no more water comes out of the pasta. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
- Add the red pesto and stir well. Add all the vegetables and stir until combined well. Stir in parmesan cheese and fresh basil, reserving a small amount of each for garnish. Cover and refrigerate for one hour. Can be served cold or at room temperature.
- Will keep up to two days covered in the refridgerator.