Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad. It’s the perfect portable, easy-to-make summertime crowd pleaser. And what sets this pasta salad apart from the rest is the dressing; it’s made by blending together a mixture of sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, and olive oil. Then it’s tossed together with cherry tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, tender young arugula leaves, and a generous handful of parmesan cheese and fresh basil. In the end, what you have is a satisfying salad that is ideal for bringing along to picnics and barbeques, and even leftovers for a take-along lunch the next day.
A simple Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta that comes together in 25 minutes!
It’s seriously easy and quick to make. Boil the pasta. Check. Blend the dressing. Check. Chop the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Check. Then all there’s left to do is give the arugula leaves a quick rinse then spin them dry (yes…a salad spinner is absolutely essential to any salad lover’s kitchen!) toss everything together and voila! There you have it, a quick and super simple recipe for a crowd-pleasing pasta salad. And less time in the kitchen means more time enjoying the summer. :-)
Pasta salads — Delicious, Satisfying and Portable
Warm weather = picnics. Picnics = portable food. Portable food = a super simple pasta salad recipe. Yes, they are perfect for warmer weather. Easy to made, totally adaptable, terrific served at room temperature or chilled AND you get to satisfy a craving for a big bowl of pasta on a hot summer day — packed to go, enjoy it anywhere! This Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta is:
Perfect on a hot summer day :-)
500 g dried pasta such as fusilli, penne, or rotini (I used torchiette)
125 g good-quality sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon capers (in brine), drained
80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
30 g freshly grated parmesan, plus more to garnish
220 g mini roma or cherry tomatoes, halved
125 g fresh buffalo mozzarella, chopped
handful of fresh basil leaves (10-15 leaves), chopped
2-3 handfuls baby arugula
lightly toasted pine nuts, to garnish (optional)
1. Fill a large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup (60 mL) pasta water. Run under cold water and drain again.
2. For the dressing, add the sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, capers, and olive oil to a food processor (or use immersion blender) and puree until it reaches a thick pesto-like consistency (it doesn’t have to be super smooth, as a bit of texture is good). Stir in the reserved pasta water and season will salt and pepper, to taste.
3. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Add the sun-dried tomato mixture and toss until well-combined. Add the parmesan and toss again.
4. Add the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and arugula to the bowl with the pasta. Toss to combine. Garnish with pine nuts (if using) and serve. Enjoy!
I recommend buying good quality oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I usually buy mine at a delicatessen nearby or in the antipasti section of my local organic supermarket — every place prepares them a little different (marinated in herbs, garlic, etc.) so choose ones you already know you like. If you prefer the jarred in oil ones, feel free to use those.
If you make this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Salad recipe, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you! Be sure to rate it and leave a comment below to let me know! Especially if you have tips for other readers. Or take a picture and tag me on Instagram @ellerepublic and don’t foget to hashtag #ellerepublic so I don’t miss it!