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Pesto Pasta Salad

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We love prepping pasta ahead for quick lunch box filler, but when we can make a big batch of pasta salad it is so much better — there’s enough for grown-up and kid lunch boxes alike, more flavor can be added in advance, and more vegetables (and cheese!) make the pasta more filling. This is our basic pasta salad formula, but feel free to mix up the mix-ins: add pepperoni or swap the mozzarella for provolone, celery adds a hearty crunch, add some pepperoncini for a little spice. This pasta salad can do anything!

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Pesto Pasta Salad: easy dinner or lunchbox meal | Didn't I Just Feed You podcast

Pesto Pasta Salad

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  • Author: Stacie and Meghan
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 1x



1 small red onion, thinly sliced 

¼ cup red wine vinegar + 3 tablespoons water 

1 pound pasta 

½ cup Spinach Pesto 

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup green olives

8 ounces fresh mozzarella pearls

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved 

1 medium English cucumber, cut into quarters and diced
¼ cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the red onion and vinegar. Toss to coat well and allow the onions to marinate while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water according to the package directions, 8 to 10 minutes for most brands. Drain and quickly rinse with cold water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl to cool; set aside.
  3. Add the olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and salt to the red onion and vinegar mixture. Stir to combine, and then pour over the pasta.
  4. Toss the cooled pasta with onions and all of the add-ins: olives, mozzarella, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley. Serve right away or cover and chill for up to 24 hours before serving.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes

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