Let the picnicking continue! I’ve been on a kick for picnic friendly, packable salads. This pesto pasta salad definitely fits the bill. I’m a fan of most things containing basil, so when coming up with an idea for a pasta salad to follow my potato salad, I didn’t have to think very hard to come up with pesto as an option. I also have a thing for alliteration and really wanted to title this post Picnic Perfect Pesto Pasta Salad…but that might have been a little much, don’t you think?
This past week I’ve spent on my parent’s porch working remotely and it’s made me crave all things picnic. When deciding which of my latest recipes to post today, I had to go with this one. It’s so simple to make and holds up really well when transporting and keeping for a few days. It’s also really versatile. You can serve it warm or cold and if you don’t have the veggies on hand that I did – you can simply toss in whatever you like.
I decided to mix up my usual pesto recipe on this salad just to try something new (I have a thing with experimenting with recipes, clearly). So I added sun-dried tomatoes and spinach to the mix. I liked the added health kick from the spinach and I didn’t even taste the difference. The sun-dried tomatoes added a bit of flavor that was a great spin on a classic pesto.
For the salad part of things I went with some sprouted whole wheat elbow macaroni, chickpeas and zucchini and topped the whole thing off with some fresh tomatoes. The salad is definitely more veggie than pasta heavy, so if you like a bit more macaroni, I suggest whipping up another 1/2 cup or so.
This salad is a great picnic option, but also really good for anyone who packs a lunch (adults or kids). I took it to the office throughout the week and each day was just as good as the first. If you’ve got a party coming up or simply want to throw together a meal on Sunday you can pack for the office, definitely consider this one. I know it’s already become a staple in our house.
Sun-dried Tomato Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
What You’ll Need:
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (for gluten-free, use rice pasta)
- 1 cup basil
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- juice from 1/4 lemon
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 medium tomato
What You’ll Do:
- Start by making the pasta – boil water, add pasta. Voila.
- Rinse the chickpeas, cut up the zucchini and chop the tomato. Put the zucchini and chickpeas into a large bowl, set tomato aside.
- In a food processor, add the spinach, sun-dried tomato, walnuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, water and basil. Blend until everything is mixed together well.
- When your pasta is done, add it to the large bowl with the zucchini and chickpeas. Add the pesto to the bowl and mix with a spatula until the pasta and veggies are covered with pesto.
- Top with chopped tomato and enjoy hot or cold.