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pasta salad in a bowl with serving utensils

30-Minute Pesto Pasta Salad

  • Author: Laney Schwartz
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


Pesto Pasta Salad is an easy and delicious side or main dish and makes great leftovers. Made with fresh basil, garlic, pistachios and juicy cherry tomatoes, you’ll come back to this dish again and again.


  • 1 pound short pasta (rigatoni, bowties, or penne)
  • 1 cup Basil Pistachio Pesto
  • 1 cup leftover pasta water
  • 12 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup pistachios
  • Flakey sea salt for finishing


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package. Meanwhile, make the pesto. 
  2. Once the pasta is done cooking, reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Add the pesto to the pasta and add ¼ cup pasta water at a time to help thin out the pesto and create a sauce. Stir until pasta is well coated. 
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and pistachios, adding more pasta water as needed. Finish with some flakey sea salt and serve warm or at room temperature.