Pesto Pasta Salad & {GIVEAWAY!}

by Her Happy Balance on June 23, 2014

Being as Saturday was the official first day of summer, I think it is fair to say that it’s barbecue season! When I think of a BBQ, I think about grilled brats and burgers, corn on the cob, and lots of cold salads. You’ve got your potato salad, your fruit salad, maybe an ambrosia salad, coleslaw, and my personal favorite – the pasta salad! But what always kind of gets to me is mayonnaise. It’s great on a turkey sandwich, and as an ingredient in things I can understand it, but I’m not a huge fan of when mayonnaise becomes the base for a salad. Plus BBQs and picnics are usually outside in the hot sun and after a while, I get a little uneasy about whether or not the mayonnaise dishes are still safe to eat. So I think my new go-to cold salad may just be this little concoction I like to call Pesto Pasta Salad. It is olive oil based, tastes so dang fresh, and includes my favorite healthy additive – chia seeds 🙂 Omega 3’s, what what!

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
A delicious garlicky pesto pasta salad served chilled with ripe cherry tomatoes. Vegetarian friendly.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 3 Cups Fresh Basil, stems removed
  2. 1 Cup Pine Nuts
  3. 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  4. 6 Cloves Garlic
  5. 2 Cups Olive Oil
  6. 1 and 1/2 lbs Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
  7. 1 Tsp. Salt
  8. 1/2 Tsp. Pepper
  9. 2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds*
  10. 2 Pints Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  1. Wash and dry basil leaves. In a food processor combine basil, nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper. Begin to process and immediately start pouring in the olive oil in a slow but steady stream until all oil has been added. Stop the machine, stir in chia seeds. Transfer pesto to a bowl, cover and set aside. Boil your water and cook your pasta until al dente. Drain pasta and let it sit to cool. Transfer pasta to a large container and add in pesto and tomatoes. Toss pasta and tomatoes until fully coated in pesto. Cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!
  1. *I used Salba Smart whole chia seeds. This dish can also be served warmed.
Adapted from Pasta & Cheese - The Cookbook
Adapted from Pasta & Cheese - The Cookbook
Her Happy Balance
Admittedly, this recipe calls for a LOT of basil. If you are growing a bumper crop of basil in your herb garden, this would be a great way to put it to use. If you need to purchase the basil, I would buy 2 or 3 large bunches. Nothing tastes more like summertime than fresh cut herbs straight from the garden, am I right?!

Pesto Sauce

The pesto sauce on its own is amazing, IMHO. I was pretty much dipping anything edible in the kitchen into it while I was waiting for my pasta water to boil. You could always just make the pesto and use it as a dip for crudités, as a spread on a sandwich, or it could be served warm over pasta if that’s more your style. If you make it as a pasta salad though, I can guarantee it will be a hit at your next get-together…maybe the fourth of July? Just sayin’ 🙂 Bonus: it is vegetarian friendly. 

The chia seeds in this recipe were virtually unnoticeable and didn’t change the flavor of the pesto at all, they just packed a nice nutritious punch. Two HHB readers will win a Salba Chia Whole Seed BOOST sleeve and a Premium Ground BOOST sleeve, just enter using the widget below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy cooking!

How do you get Omega 3’s into your diet?
Any exciting plans for the Fourth of July?
What are you usually in charge of bringing to the picnic? 

Comments on this entry are closed.

Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine June 23, 2014 at 9:19 am

Chia and flax are great for omega 3s! But I akdo love my salmon and sardines 😉

Paige c June 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

I love chia seeds, flax seeds and salmon,

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life June 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

Yummmm, this looks delicious! I’ll admit, I dont do nearly enough with chia seeds! I definitely need to work on incorporating them more into my daily eats!

Debbie @ Live from La Quinta June 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I’m vegan so I stay away from fish oils, so I do use chia and flax seeds for the most part to get my omega 3s.

Annmarie June 23, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I eat a lot of chia seeds, flax and salmon 🙂

Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie June 23, 2014 at 5:37 pm

I love chia seeds. Never would have used them in a pasta salad – great idea!

Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom June 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

I usually make my pasta salad with italian dressing… but this sounds amazing 🙂 I LOVE pesto on pasta…or just about everything 😀 I’m bringing a cabbage and quinoa salad to my 4th of July BBQ this year… I’m usually in charge of side dishes since that’s what I mainly eat at BBQ’s!

Dandi D June 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Our family loves salmon, but I would really like to start using some chia seeds regularly too!

Becca June 28, 2014 at 1:59 am

I eat lots of chia, flax, salmon and hemp

Ann June 28, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I love eating salmon and chia

Ann June 28, 2014 at 10:48 pm

With chia seeds of course

Julie Raye-Rod June 29, 2014 at 5:01 pm

with chia seeds!

Heather @fitncookies June 29, 2014 at 8:18 pm

I love eating Chia seeds!

whitney August 26, 2014 at 10:15 am

this looks amazing! i have some basil growing in the backyard. looks like i know how i’m going to use it 🙂

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