I LOVE pasta!! Who doesn’t??

This is the easiest pasta salad recipe ever. I like to make mine with homemade pesto (recipe below) but you could make it with store-bought as well. Don’t worry, I won’t tell!


Ingredients for Pasta Salad 

  • 1 pound pasta 

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes 

  • 8 oz mozzarella (I like using Ciliegine which are the small balls of mozzarella)

  • 1/2-1 cup pesto (recipe below)

  • 3-4 grilled chicken breasts; optional 

  • 1 lemon 

  • Basil 

Ingredients for Lemony Basil Pesto 

  • 3 heaping cups fresh basil

  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  • ½ cup pine nuts, toasted

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions for Italian Pasta Salad 

1. Cook the pasta in salted water; make sure to cook it so it is al dente 
2. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water 
3. Strain the pasta and pour the cooked pasta back into the pot 
4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the pesto
5. Add in a small splash of the pasta water to help loosen the pesto and create a sauce
6. Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella into about 1/2 inch pieces and add it into the pasta 
7. Stir well
8. Add in the grilled chicken and mix well
9. Taste the pasta and add more pesto, lemon, salt and pepper as desired 
10. Add more reserved pasta water if needed as well 
11. I like to serve mine with a wedge of fresh lemon and a few pieces of fresh basil
12. Lemony Basil Pesto

Directions for Pesto 

1. Place the pine nuts in a shallow skillet over medium heat; tossing/stirring frequently
2. Toast until the nuts are fragrant and slightly brown; careful, this can happen quickly
3. Allow the pine nuts to cool
4. Freshly grate the parmesan cheese using a food processor or hand grater
5. Place the basil, grated cheese, cooled pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic cloves into a food processor
6. Process all of the ingredients together for about 15 seconds
7. With the mixer running slowly pour in the olive oil
8. Add salt and pepper to taste
9. Process again to mix
10. If the pesto is too thick you can add more olive oil
11. Serve!
12. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container
13.*You can also place the pesto in an ice cube tray; fill each cube with pesto; freeze; once frozen place them into a freezer safe plastic bag