Simple & Fresh Pasta Pesto Salad

I hate lunch. I hate thinking about what to eat and I hate making it.

Lunch is stupid. The End.

Lately, I’ve gotten back into the wormhole of Pinterest for some inspiration in the kitchen. I should also mention that I hate making dinner too. I like dinner, but I hate prepping and then cooking it.

So, back to Pinterest. Since it’s summer, I created a board specifically for light & fresh summer foods:

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Have I tried any of these recipes yet? Nope. That is, until today.

This is the recipe that inspired me:

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I say inspired because I went a different route and made it quick and easy for myself based on what I had in my fridge and pantry. That’s the beauty of this recipe, you can go crazy with it by adding extras* (suggestions below) or keep it simple like I did.

What you’ll need (this couldn’t be easier or simpler):

  • Your favorite boxed pasta. I chose ridged elbows. The ridges really help retain the pesto, so be sure to purchase a pasta with ridges.
  • Pesto. Now, you could make your own, or you could buy a really great quality fresh pouch like I did. Ain’t nobody got time to food process!
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes.
  • Salt/Pepper to taste.
  • Parmesan cheese.

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So, super simple! All ingredients cost about $8.00.

  • Bring pasta water to a boil and dump in desired amount of pasta for your meal. (I used half a box which will provide me with three meals.)
  • Cut tomatoes in half. Place them in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Add to bowl with tomatoes.
  • Add in desired amount of pesto.
  • Toss everything together and give it a taste.
  • Add salt/pepper if the mood strikes you.
  • Top with Parmesan cheese. Fresh is preferable, but canned will do.

Tada!

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If you like your pasta salad cold, prepare earlier and refrigerate for awhile. Since this doesn’t have mayo in it, it’s great for camping, picnics or BBQ’s.

*On to the extras I mentioned above. If I was making this for dinner or to bring to a friends house, I’d add a few other items to it to make it a bit heartier.

  • Mozzarella pearls (Ciliegine)
  • Red onion
  • Small handful of spinach
  • Sliced olives
  • Chopped red bell pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Lemon juice for flavor pop

The ideas are endless! And if you want to make it creamy, by all means add some mayo. To keep it light, I omit the mayo.

Enjoy!

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