Another summer day, another summer pasta salad… with pesto.
Yes, I know that this is another variation on pasta tossed with pesto on this website, but trust me – this is totally different! Promise.
What I like about this pasta salad is that it has wilted spinach in it. Pesto and spinach are a great flavor combo (trust me!), which makes this a yummy summer dinner option (and you get the added benefit of sneaking some good nutrition into your family!).
Grab yourself a tall-sided skillet and set it over medium heat.
And sauté some shallots in olive oil. If you like some spice in your food, add in some crushed red pepper flakes.
When the shallots are all soft and translucent, dump in some washed baby spinach.
I love baby spinach in pasta recipes because it wilts down fast and it doesn’t have as strong a flavor as regular spinach (in my opinion). And despite it being “baby” spinach, it’s still a great source of fiber, iron, folate, and vitamin A!
Sauté the spinach until it just wilts (the hot pasta will completely wilt it). Set the pan aside until the pasta is finished cooking.
Another veggie that tastes great with pesto is peas! I put frozen sweet peas in a colander and pour the pasta over it – peas get defrosted ASAP and everything is ready to be tossed with the spinach.
Dinner’s in one skillet! One pot meals, man… they’re a lifesaver!
Add in some pesto.
This is store-bought pesto. It was good, but not as good (or as green) as freshly made pesto…
And I would have fresh pesto on hand if I had any fresh basil on my newly acquired basil plant…
And I would have fresh basil on my newly acquired basil plant if only a caterpillar wasn’t a stow-away on the planter and munched his way through 60% of the leaves…
I am devastated.
So no fresh pesto until I figure out how to revive my poor plant (or hit up the farmer’s market this weekend).
Back to the pasta salad.
I threw in some fresh mozzarella.
Mixed everything together and garnished with some basil leaves that have been cut into ribbons (or chiffonade) and some toasted pine nuts.
Then we dug in!
Simple, delicious, and easy to whip up on a hot summer night.
What are your favorite summer pasta salad dishes (do you love pesto as much as I do)?
Your pesto pasta salad obsessed friend,
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 medium-sized shallots, cut into thin half moons
- 8oz fresh baby spinach, washed well
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flake (optional)
- 1½ cups frozen sweet peas
- ¼ cup pesto, store-bought or homemade
- 1lb fresh mozzarella, cubed
- 12oz dried pasta, ¾ of a 1lb box
- 2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
- 6-8 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt heavily and add in pasta; cook according to the package directions.
- In a high-sided skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the shallots and cook until they become soft and translucent, about 1-2 minutes; add in the red pepper flake (optional). Add spinach to the pan, tossing to coat in the olive oil and shallots – cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside.
- Place peas in a colander. When pasta is cooked, pour the pasta into the colander with the peas. Shake colander to remove as much water from the pasta and peas as possible.
- Pour pasta and peas into the skillet with the spinach. Add in pesto and fresh mozzarella cheese – stir to combine. Sprinkle pine nuts and basil over the pasta for garnish.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.