Gluten-Free pasta with basil and kale creamy pesto, fresh tomatoes and broccoli, topped with pine nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese. This summer Pesto Pasta Salad is easy and delightful. The basil kale creamy pesto is the best you will ever eat!
If you had to bottle up summer into a fragrance I am pretty sure it would smell a lot like basil. Do you agree?
This time of year basil is everywhere, and a great way to use (a lot of) basil, is in pesto. Although pesto can be made using many other types of greens, or combination of greens, basil pesto is indeed the traditional way of making pesto.
With a jar of pesto in hand, the sky is the limit. In fact pesto is used in many dishes across the globe. Here are a few suggestions;
- pesto sandwiches and paninis, with meat cuts or vegetarian
- pesto pastas, hot or cold pasta salads
- pesto chicken, sautéed, baked, grilled or braised
- pesto fish, any type of fish will work
- pesto pizzas and flatbreads
- pesto gnocchi, tortellini and ravioli
- pesto bruschetta, toast, with crackers and cheese
- pesto in soups, sauces and as a flavoring base
- pesto in rice and risotto
If you don’t particularly love pesto sauce, I suggest that you play around to find a combination you like. For instance, it took me a while to acquire the taste for basil pesto, and it wasn’t until I started mixing it with another type greens to balance the strong taste of basil, that I started to enjoy it.
Here are a few pesto combinations that you can try;
- basil and kale – good balancing flavor
- basil and arugula – a little on the peppery side
- basil and spinach – also a good balancing flavor
How do you make pesto from scratch?
Traditional pesto is made with basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. However, as I mentioned before you can use a combination of greens, or skip the basil and use another green of choice.
Additionally, you can use different types of nuts besides pine nuts. Walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc… Again, the idea is that you find a combination you like 🙂
To make pesto, combine the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until everything has been broken down to a grainy but uniform mixture.
Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
about this pesto pasta salad…
For this recipe I used gluten-free lentil pasta and undercooked by 1-2 minutes, as I always do whenever I made pasta salads. The basil and kale pesto is the perfect balance of flavors. Fresh tomatoes and broccoli adds a pop of color and good balance to the recipe. Top with crunchy pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese.
what to serve this pesto pasta salad with:
Fish in Foil with Vegetables or these
Tropical Summer Fruit Salad for a refreshing appetizer or dessert
If you make this Pesto Pasta Salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to all your comments. Also, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram for a special shutout and/or a chance of being featured in my newsletter!
Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 lb gluten-free pasta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Basil Kale Pesto
- 2 cups basil
- 1 cup kale
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Whenever I make pasta salads I like to undercook the pasta by 1-2 minutes. Drain and set aside
- Wash and cut up tomatoes, broccoli and onion. Set aside.
- In a food processor add in basil, kale and pine nuts. Give it a pulse until greens have broken down to a thick paste. Then add in parmesan cheese, oil, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Remember the parmesan cheese is already salty, depending on your taste you may not need to add much salt at all. Pulse until incorporated. Pesto will still be grainy. If needed add 1-2 tbsp of water to thin it down.
- Add pasta, veggies and 1 cup of pesto to a large bowl and mix to combine. You can add more pesto if you like. This recipe yield about 2 cups of pesto so you should have some leftover to use later on. You can freeze the leftover pesto or use within 1 week.
- Top pesto pasta salad with pine nuts a drizzle of olive oil. Serve
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