Pesto Pasta Salad with Peas and Tomato

Easy pasta salad with homemade pesto, peas and tomatoes. Light and full of summer flavors! Perfect for BBQs and picnics.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Category Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 495 kcal
Autor Elle


For the fresh pesto dressing (200 ml):

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (2 large bunches)
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil

for the pasta salad:

  • 500 g dried pasta (such as volanti, fusilli, penne or farfalle)
  • 45 g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted (or fresh peas!) (ca 130 g)
  • 350 g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved or in thin slices (50 g)
  • 35 g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Handful of small basil leaves, to garnish


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente (according to package directions). Remove pasta from heat, drain and immediately rinse the pasta under cool water to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another. Drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium-high heat (this only takes a few minutes, so keep your eyes on them). Transfer to a plate to cool.
  3. Make the pesto by adding basil, shallot, garlic, chili flakes, lemon juice, and salt to a food processor and blending to combine. Stream in the olive oil until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should be thick but pourable. (Alternatively the pesto can be made using an immersion blender).
  4. Add the pesto to the bowl with the pasta. Toss until well-combined. Now add the peas, tomatoes, olives, parmesan and pine nuts to the bowl. Gently mix to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with more basil leaves and serve at room temperature.