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!

round bowl of pesto pasta with tomatoes, broccoli, pine nuts and fresh basil.

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
small white bowl with pesto. Cutting board with knife and tomatoes sliced in half, broccoli florets and sliced red onion. Fresh basil leaves.
White bowl with creamy basil pesto.

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;

  1. basil and kale – good balancing flavor
  2. basil and arugula – a little on the peppery side
  3. 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.

Pesto pasta salad with fresh tomatoes, broccoli and pine nuts. Small white bowl with basil pesto and a silver spoon.
large round bowl with pesto pasta salad, fresh tomatoes, broccoli and small bowl of pine nuts.

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

Sausage and Veggies Kabobs

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!

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pesto pasta salad
5 from 1 vote

Pesto Pasta Salad

by Silvia
Gluten-free pasta salad with basil and kale creamy pesto, cherry tomatoes and broccoli topped with crunchy pine nuts
Prep: 18 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 26 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


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

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Keyword: pasta salad, Pesto
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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pesto pasta salad

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Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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