This quick and easy Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe is made with fresh ingredients and loads of flavor! This is the perfect side dish for any get together, backyard bbq, or potluck.
Looking for more pasta salad recipes? Try this Greek Pasta Salad, Mandarin Pasta Spinach Salad, or Strawberry Spinach Pasta Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing next!
Why This Recipe Works
Perfect for Summer: Pasta salads are my go-to for warm weather side dishes, and this Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe is a serious game changer. Throw in some fresh greens and shredded chicken and this pasta salad is the perfect side dish!
Simple & Delicious: Not only is this pasta salad easy to make, but it is also super satisfying! Sometimes the best meals are those that are made with simple, fresh ingredients. With only eight ingredients, this salad packs an incredible amount of flavor, texture, and that Spring-Summer vibe you want in a pasta salad – though it’s so good you’ll wanna make it all year long!
Oh So Fresh: Is there a more iconic flavor combination that basil and tomatoes? They make such a fresh and dreamy flavor that I absolutely love. Along with savory parmesan and a bright Italian dressing, you will be truly impressed with this pasta salad recipe!
- Fusilloni Pasta– I use Fusilloni pasta for this recipe, but any bite sized pasta will work!
- Italian Salad Dressing– Use your favorite Italian dressing from the store.
- Pesto– You can use jarred or homemade pesto sauce.
- Baby Spinach & Arugula– Fresh greens in this pasta salad elevate it and add texture and vitamins and minerals!
- Shredded Chicken– To make this super easy, you can use rotisserie chicken or boil your chicken before hand.
- Cherry Tomatoes– Sliced in half.
- Parmesan Cheese– Add some grated parmesan cheese on top or try feta or mozzarella.
Here’s How You Make It
Step by Step Instructions
- First, cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Rinse the cooked pasta with cold water and place in a large bowl.
- Toss together the cooked pasta, shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken works great!) cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and fresh baby spinach and arugula.
- Whisk together basil pesto sauce with Italian salad dressing and pour it over the salad. Finally, toss it all together and top it off with some cracked black pepper and grated parmesan cheese and serve immediately or make ahead and chill to serve later.
- Try adding cucumbers, feta cheese, mini mozzarella balls or fresh basil! If you want a vegetarian pasta salad, just omit the chicken. For more savory deliciousness, try adding some crispy bacon! This pasta salad is versatile and your options are endless!
- Instead of jarred pesto, try using my Homemade Pesto Sauce as the base of this recipe!
- Pesto Pasta Salad can be served as a side dish or as it’s own meal with some grilled corn on the cob and Fresh Fruit Salad!
More Recipes to Try
- 5-Minute Pesto
- One Pot Creamy Pesto Chicken Pasta
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Tuscan Sausage Pasta
- Farmers Market Veggie Pasta
Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe
- 17 ounces short pasta noodles
- ⅔ cup prepared Italian salad dressing
- ½ cup pesto
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup fresh arugula
- 2 cups shredded chicken - rotisserie chicken works well
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes - halved
- ⅓ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- grated parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper, for topping
- Add spinach and arugula, shredded chicken, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese pasta bowl.
- Whisk together Italian salad dressing and pesto sauce until smooth, then pour over pasta. Toss to combine. Top with cracked black pepper and grated parmesan cheese as desired.
- Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 8 hours and toss just before serving.