Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Five consecutive weekends on the road has made me a non-blogger. Fortunately, I’m back at it, bolstered with a few weekends rest. Because we’ve been having a bit of a heat wave here in San Francisco, Rob and I headed out for a picnic. The menu: pesto pasta salad, ranch chicken wraps, and strawberries.

One of my mom’s favorite dishes to make for guests (and easily the most requested) is her pesto pasta salad (made all the better with her homemade pesto that includes basil grown in her garden). Having let my herb garden wane during the winter, I didn’t have fresh basil at my disposal but did have Sergio’s Pasta Shop down the street. With his pesto in hand, I set to work concocting my own pesto pasta salad. Here’s the recipe and images of the delicious results. I highly recommend it for a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Vegetables for Pesto Pasta Salad

Cooked tortellini and pesto


Pesto Pasta Salad

Makes enough for a dinner party and lunch the next day


20 ounces tortellini

4 to 8 ounces pesto

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch asparagus

1 large crown broccoli

1 large or 2 small red peppers

1 handful sun-dried tomatoes



Cooking and cutting vegetables before adding them to the tortellini


1. Cook tortellini according to package. Drain,  rinse with cold water, and drain again.

2. Pour tortellini into a large bowl and mix with half the pesto until coated.

3. Rinse asparagus after snapping off bottoms. Heat olive oil in a pan. Cook, but do not overcook, asparagus, adding a little water and covering to steam if necessary and desired. Cut into inch-long sections and add to tortellini.

4. Rinse broccoli then cut into small florets. Steam (but do not over steam). Let cool slightly and add to tortellini.

5. Rinse red peppers and cut into quarter- to half-inch squares. Add to tortellini.

6. Chop sun-dried tomatoes and add to tortellini.

7. Add the remaining pesto to the tortellini. Stir until coated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve cold and enjoy.

Mmm... A close up of the finished product

On the balcony. Fun with my phone camera.

Our picnic dinner in the park: Pesto Pasta Salad, ranch chicken wraps (with lettuce and cheddar cheese), and strawberries


4 Responses to “Pesto Pasta Salad”

  1. 1 Carren 04/04/2011 at 10:16 am

    Love pesto! 🙂 Thanks, I’ll add a dash of these next time I make pesto pasta.

  2. 2 Nancy 04/06/2011 at 10:35 am

    Thanks, Miyoko! I’m always looking for recipes that will bring a few days’ lunch. Looks delicious!

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