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A wooden spoon with pasta salad on it.
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Pesto Pasta Salad

This easy to make Pesto Pasta Salad is always a top requested pasta salad recipe. Loaded with Caesar salad dressing, pesto, pasta, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olives, and tomatoes and covered in a simple creamy dressing.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword pasta salad recipe, pesto pasta salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
refrigeration time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 28 minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 283kcal
Author Jessica - Together as Family

Ingredients

  • 1 box (12 oz) tri color rotini pasta
  • cup creamy caesar salad dressing
  • cup basil pesto
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1 can (3.8 oz) sliced or chopped black olives drained
  • ¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • cup sliced green onion

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Don't forget to salt the pasta water. I use about 1 teaspoon.
    When pasta is done cooking, drain it in a colander, and rinse with cold water.
  • In a mixing bowl combine the caesar dressing, basil pesto, salt, and garlic powder. Stir together.
    Add the drained & rinsed pasta into it and stir until all the noodles are coated well. 
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, olives, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and green onions into the bowl and stir to combine everything together. 
  • You can either serve this salad right away OR put it in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.
    Leftovers will keep well, in a covered container, for up to 3 days. If leftovers are dry, simply add some additonal Caesar salad dressing and stir to combine.

Video

Notes

Pine Nuts : If you want to and have the time, try toasting the pine nuts before adding them into the salad. Toasting the pine nuts adds a whole new flavor and it's really good. I just put the pine nuts into small sauté pan and let it cook over medium heat for several minutes. Stirring often to make sure they don't burn.
A good substitute for pine nuts are cashews or almonds. 
Olives : If you can't find the 3.8 oz black olive sized can at your grocery store you can get two of the small (2.25 oz) cans. You can either use sliced black olives or chopped black olives. 
Tomatoes : Use chopped Roma tomatoes or you can use halved cherry/grape tomatoes. You can use more or less of the tomatoes depending on preference. 
Parmesan Cheese : I use the parmesan cheese that you buy pre shredded in the bags. You could also shred your own from a wedge. I would suggest not using the finely grated parmesan cheese that you get in the can. You know the cheaper dried parmesan cheese.
Caesar Salad Dressing : Make sure and use a Caesar dressing that you love because that flavor really shines through. I love using Ken's Steakhouse Caesar dressing. 
Serving Size : The nutrition information listed is for 12 servings of the pasta salad. Each serving being about ½ cup. 

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 521mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 423IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 1mg