Fresh Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Peas

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Pasta is the perfect base for building a cool and refreshing summer salad.

This cool pasta salad has the bright flavors of summer-fresh goodness, like pesto, spinach, and peas. We share the recipe: https://foodal.com/recipes/pasta/pesto-pasta-salad-peas/

It’s inexpensive, cooks quickly, and has a neutral taste and texture that supports the flavors of other foods. It can be served cold or hot, and is now readily available in healthier varieties, like those made from whole wheat and gluten-free flours.

Bright with sunny flavors, this recipe is replete with garden-fresh ingredients like basil, garlic, peas, and spinach – a great dish for the gardeners out there!

Or you can pick up some locally grown produce at your closest farmers market. Here’s a link to the USDA farmers market directory.

Infused with the flavors of homemade pesto, fresh green peas, leafy spinach, and Parmesan cheese, our pesto pasta salad is the perfect summer dish! We share the recipe: https://foodal.com/recipes/pasta/pesto-pasta-salad-peas/

An ideal dish for potlucks, patio parties, or any summer get-together, this tasty offering, like many other recipes for pasta salads, can be made ahead of time – making it convenient and delicious!

The flavors will actually improve if allowed to sit at room temperature a bit before being served – 30 minutes or more.

This dish is suitable as a whole meal for lunch, as a side with a main course, or as part of a buffet for entertaining. With penne being a bite-sized option, it’s easy to eat in standing situations, like mingling at a yard party.

The flavor intensive comes from the pesto, with its deep flavors of basil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.

Essential summer fare for picnics, backyard entertaining, or simply as a refreshing lunch, our pesto pasta salad with plenty of fresh basil delivers the taste of sunny goodness! We share the recipe: https://foodal.com/recipes/pasta/pesto-pasta-salad-peas/

Spinach greens add more fresh flavors, along with plenty of nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, and C. And the addition of mayonnaise makes the final sauce so smooth and creamy.

Naturally, the peas please with their sweet flavor! And they add even more vitamins, like whopping levels of C, plus good amounts of A, B6, magnesium, and dietary fiber.

While we do have a classic pesto recipe made with only basil, my version includes a handful of parsley for an even fresher taste. Both the basil and parsley have outstanding levels of vitamins A and C, making this dish rich in important green-sourced antioxidants.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas | Foodal.com

Serve this dish with a tasty new recipe for sweet summer corn, or with your favorite grilled burger!

The Recipe

Recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas | Foodal.com
Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Peas
Votes: 4
Rating: 4.75
You: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This cool pasta salad has the bright flavors of summer-fresh goodness, like pesto, spinach, and peas – perfect to beat the heat.
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas | Foodal.com
Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Peas
Votes: 4
Rating: 4.75
You: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
This cool pasta salad has the bright flavors of summer-fresh goodness, like pesto, spinach, and peas – perfect to beat the heat.
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-8 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
For the Pasta Salad:
  • 3 cups Penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas
  • 1 cup snow peas or other edible-pod peas
  • 1 1/2 cups basic fresh pesto see recipe below
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • fine sea salt or freshly ground sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the Basic Pesto:
  • 2 cups basil leaves packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup parsley loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • fine sea salt or freshly ground sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Servings: people
Units:
Instructions
For the Pasta Salad:
  1. Cook the penne in a large pot of boiling, salted water for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or until it has reached an al dente stage.
  2. Drain and rinse the penne, then toss in a large bowl with the olive oil. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. While the penne cools, shell the peas and set aside. Clean and trim the edible pods.
  4. With a food processor, puree the pesto ingredients (see the recipe below).
  5. Add the spinach and lemon juice to the pesto, and puree. Add the mayonnaise and puree until smooth.
  6. Stir the sauce into the cooled pasta, then mix in the Parmesan, peas, and pine nuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
For the Basic Pesto (makes 1 1/2 cups):
  1. Place the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds.
  2. Add the basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Process until evenly minced.
  3. With the processor running, pour the olive oil in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube and process until all ingredients are uniformly smooth.
  4. Add the Parmesan and puree for another 30 seconds.
  5. Use promptly or store in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil on top. To freeze, pack in small zip lock bags (enough for one recipe) and squeeze out the excess air.

Nutritional Information*

Nutrition Facts
Pesto Pasta Salad with Green Peas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 562 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 51%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Polyunsaturated Fat 11g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 24mg 8%
Sodium 891mg 37%
Potassium 488mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 48g 16%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 6g
Protein 23g 46%
Vitamin A 63%
Vitamin C 90%
Calcium 45%
Iron 27%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Get Organized

The Perfect Summer Pasta | Foodal.com

Read the recipe and organize your ingredients and tools.

Step 2 – Cook the Pasta

The Best Pea and Pesto Pasta | Foodal.com

Cook the penne in a large pot for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente – just cooked, but still firm.

Don’t overcook the penne, because the right texture is important. You want them to be soft enough to pierce with a fork, while still retaining a firm form.

Drain and rinse the penne, then toss with olive oil and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Step 3 – Prep the Peas

Fresh Peas for a Summer Salad | Foodal.com

Shell the peas, or clean and trim the ones with edible pods. Set aside. Young tenderils make a delicious addition to a salad in the springtime.

Step 4 – Make the Basic Pesto

Making Pesto for a Summer Pasta Salad Dish | Foodal.com

In a food processor, chop the garlic and pine nuts for about 15 seconds. Add the basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Process until finely minced.

With the processor running, slowly add the oil through the feed tube until smoothly pureed.

Add the grated Parmesan cheese and process for one more minute.

Step 5 – Make the Final Sauce

Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe | Foodal.com

Add the spinach and lemon juice, then puree. Add the mayo, and puree once more.

Allergic to eggs, or aiming to cut down on your cholesterol intake? Try our egg-free mayonnaise recipe!

Step 6 – Mix Together

Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas | Foodal.com

Stir the finished sauce into the cooled penne. Fold in the Parmesan, peas, and pine nuts. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.

Fresh is Best!

For the sunniest flavors, make this fresh salad with bright herbs and veggies.

For crisp, bright produce, visit your farmers market, or grow your own. And our sister site, Gardeners Path, has all the details on how to grow an abundant supply of sweet basil.

Basil for Pesto Pasta Salad | Foodal.com

And if you’d like some more recipe ideas for this summertime classic, check out our tips for how to build a perfect pasta salad – you’ll love the failsafe results!

If cheese is not part of your diet, try our recipe for vegan pesto instead.

How about you readers, any questions about this recipe? Drop us a note in the comments below, or join us on our Facebook page.

Looking for more tasty pesto-based recipes? Check out a sampling of what we have to offer:


Don’t forget to Pin It!

Essential summer fare for picnics, backyard entertaining, or simply as a refreshing lunch, this pesto pasta salad delivers the taste of sunny goodness. Infused with the incomparable flavors of homemade pesto, fresh green peas, leafy spinach, and Parmesan cheese, it’s rich in nutrients, too! We’ve got all the delicious details right here on Foodal.

Photos by Lorna Kring, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Lorna Kring

Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.

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