Pesto Pasta Salad

This has so far been one of the easier things for me to meal prep and keep in the fridge during the week. What’s great is that you can eat it hot or cold. So when I first make it I eat it hot and then throughout the week if I need a quick lunch then I just scoop some in a bowl and eat it as is. It’s also really quick to make.

  • I use this brand of pasta pictured below. It’s made from chickpeas and has a ton of plant based protein. It tastes just like regular pasta too. The one thing I will say is that it foams up a lot when you cook it – which is normal – but that means that you have to keep more of an eye on it than regular pasta. Small tradeoff for the benefits. And of course you can make this meal with regular pasta too! I like rotini because the ridges catch the pesto and the pine nuts really well, but you can use any kind of shape you want!
  • For this recipe I used store bought pesto. Since I use this meal a lot for the convenience of it, I haven’t felt the need to make my own pesto. I do want to try and tackle making my own pesto in the future, but for now it’s all about the speedy meal prep.
  • To make this recipe vegan, all you have to do is either make your own pesto so you know what’s in it or purchase a pesto that doesn’t have parmesan in it.
  • If you want to eat this more as a pasta salad and less as a hot dish, I would recommend cooking your pasta slightly under what the box instructions say. As it sits the pasta will naturally continue to absorb the pesto, and no one likes mushy pasta.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total: 15 minutes

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 cup of pesto
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes
  • a bunch of arugula
  • 1/2 cup of pine nuts
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • parmesan (to top)

Directions:

  1. Bring some water to a boil for the pasta. Once it is boiling, season it generously with salt and drop your pasta (Remember to keep an eye out for that foam!).
  2. While the pasta is cooking (about 7 minutes), place a pan on the stove on medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, thrown in your pine nuts. Shake the pan periodically to prevent the nuts from burning. Once they start smelling fragrant and have a nice golden color, transfer them to a bowl and take the pan off the heat.
Stop toasting once the nuts have turned a golden color
  1. Prep your veggies. Wash the amount of desired arugula and set aside. Slice the grape tomatoes and zest the lemon. Lightly salt and pepper the tomatoes to taste.
  1. Bring a pan to medium – low heat. Transfer your cooked pasta directly from pot to pan (it’s ok if some of the cooking water comes with it). Incorporate the pesto gently into the pasta. If its looking too think, add a touch of pasta water to loosen it up. If it looks too thin, keep cooking until the sauce reduces a little.
  2. Add the tomatoes, pine nuts, and the lemon zest to the pasta and stir them until combined. Lastly add the arugula and turn off the stove. Combine the arugula and let sit until barely softened. Add the lemon juice and a few cracks of black pepper.
  3. To plate I topped it with a few extra pine nuts, a tiny bit of parm, and another black of black pepper.

Even though this is super basic and simple, its really really yummy! I like to eat it with a slice of sourdough toast.

Let me know if you guys give it a try or if you have any requests for what you want to see next!

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