Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad

A simple Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta that comes together in 20 minutes! Perfect for bringing picnics, road trips, and beach days. Enjoy slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Category Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 502 kcal
Autor elle


  • 500 g dried pasta such as fusilli, penne, or rotini (I used torchiette)
  • 125 g good-quality sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon capers (in brine), drained
  • 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 30 g freshly grated parmesan, plus more to garnish
  • 220 g mini roma or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 125 g fresh buffalo mozzarella, chopped
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, 10-15 leaves, chopped
  • 2-3 handfuls baby arugula
  • lightly toasted pine nuts, to garnish (optional)


  1. Fill a large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup (60 mL) pasta water. Run under cold water and drain again.
  2. For the dressing, add the sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, capers, and olive oil to a food processor (or use immersion blender) and puree until it reaches a thick pesto-like consistency (it doesn’t have to be super smooth, as a bit of texture is good). Stir in the reserved pasta water and season will salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the sun-dried tomato mixture and toss until well-combined. Add the parmesan and toss again.
  4. Add the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and arugula to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Garnish with pine nuts (if using) and serve. Enjoy!


I recommend buying good quality oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I usually buy mine at a delicatessen nearby or in the antipasti section of my local organic supermarket — every place prepares them a little different (marinated in herbs, garlic, etc.) so choose ones you already know you like. If you prefer the jarred in oil ones, feel free to use those.