This Feta Pesto Pasta Salad is hearty, green, and super tasty. Made with fresh veggies including broccoli, tomatoes, and kale, it packs a healthy punch (and crunch!) and ready in less than 30 minutes.
About this Pasta Salad
I love pasta salad because it's delicious, time efficient, and great for parties and meal prep. Have you ever heard anyone complain about having to eat pasta salad? I didn't think so. I haven't, either! It's always a huge hit.
This Feta Pesto Pasta Salad is hearty, green, and super tasty. Made with fresh veggies including broccoli, tomatoes, and kale, it packs a healthy punch. (And crunch!) I also snuck in some creamy avocado and feta to add addition texture and flavor.
Pack this Pesto Pasta Salad up for lunch at work, serve with your favorite protein at dinner time, or bring it to the next family get together. This is a dish that will always have a spot on the table!
And if you love pasta salad, also try this Bruschetta Pasta Salad, Orzo Pasta Salad, or Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad!
- Pasta: You'll need 8 oz., which is one standard box. I like using Banza Chickpea Pasta for some extra fiber and protein.
- Veggies: I included broccoli, cherry tomatoes, basil, kale, and avocado.
- Pesto: I used a Knorr seasoning packet. The directions required mixing it with water and extra virgin olive oil. However, feel free to use a jar of pesto sauce or make your own Goat Cheese Pesto!
- Feta: Adds a rich, tangy, element to our salad that pairs great with the pesto. You could also use parmesan cheese or crumbled goat cheese.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make This Recipe
1. Cook pasta according to box instructions. Rinse with cold water and then let cool.
2. While the pasta cooks a small pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of water. Add diced broccoli to the pan and cover. Steam for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Let the broccoli cool, then add to the pasta.
3. Dice tomatoes, chop kale and avocado, and cut each basil leaf into small strips. Then add to the salad. I like to save some of each veggie for garnish on top, as well.
4. Then add feta cheese and everything together.
5. Use the same sauce pan, make the pesto sauce. This recipe uses Knorr’s Pesto Seasoning packet. It takes about 3 minutes to make and has incredible flavor. Pour pesto over the top of the salad.
6. Toss noodles and vegetables well to make sure they're coated. Add additional toppings if desired like thin slices of avocado, more feta, cracked pepper, and/or more veggies. Chill in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Traditional pasta salad is served cold like a lettuce salad would be, and this Feta Pesto Pasta Salad is fabulous chilled. That said, I’ve also had it warm and the feta gets all melty, so I can assure you it works deliciously as a hot dish as well.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you are making this for meal prep, I recommend keeping a portion of the pesto sauce separate from the pasta salad. The noodles will absorb a lot of the sauce and can become dry, especially if you’re eating it a few days later.
Sure! If you have a basil plant around, or even a fresh herb garden, go for it. There are so many variations to homemade basil. This Homemade Goat Cheese Pesto works amazing for this pasta salad.
Cook your noodles al dente!
What does that mean? Al dente pasta is a little chewy and firm. This is the best texture for pasta because it allows it to hold its shape, rather than being soft or mushy (which is important for a cold pasta salad!).
How do you achieve al dente pasta? Cook as normal, but remove from heat and strain when it tastes cooked but firm.
How long does this take? It depends on the type of pasta and how much of it you have. Typically, an 8 oz box of pasta is al dente after 5-7 minutes. Don't be afraid to get in there and try a few noodles to see! I recommend ~2 minutes less than the box directions.
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Feta Pesto Pasta Salad
- sauce pan
- Skillet with a lid
- Cutting Board
- Serving bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Measuring Cups
- 8 oz pasta
- ½ cup steamed broccoli, chopped
- ½ cup tomatoes, diced
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- ½ avocado, diced
- 4 stalks fresh basil
- 1 pesto seasoning packet, Knorr's
- ¼ cup feta
- Cook past according to box instructions. Rinse with cold water and then let cool. Complete steps 2-4 while the pasta cooks.
- Heat a small pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of water. Add diced broccoli to the pan and cover. Steam for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Let the broccoli cool before adding it into the salad.
- Dice tomatoes and chop kale and avocado. Cut each basil leaf into small strips.
- Use the same sauce pan, make the pesto sauce. This recipe uses Knorr’s Pesto Seasoning packet. It takes about 3 minutes to make and has incredible flavor.
- Add cooked pasta to a large serving bowl. Then, add broccoli, tomatoes, and kale. Toss.
- Add in basil, avocado, and cheese. Fold everything together.
- Pour pesto sauce over the salad. Toss noodles and vegetables well to make sure they're coated.
- Add additional toppings if desired like thin slices of avocado, freshly shaved parmesan, cracked pepper, and/or more veggies.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Looking for this in MyFitnessPal?
If you're using MyFitnessPal, search 'A Paige Of Positivity' and find PESTO PASTA SALAD calories and nutrition facts. Disclaimer: for most accurate macronutrients and caloric breakdown, it is recommended that you input each ingredient into your MyFitnessPal food diary.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. It’s my passion to create dishes that can be shared with others. Tell me something you loved or just say hi!
Mo Harty says
MAJOR YUM. I used lentil noodles to up the protein a bit and had this for dinner. Pesto Pasta Salad will definitely be on repeat all summer long.
Absolutely incredible, Courtney! Prepped for the week and going to remake for the lake this weekend, no doubt! (Added avo after photo.) Thank you!!!!
Such a fun take on pasta salad! Made this for a cookout and the whole fam loved it - even the pickier eaters!
This was so good for the family picnic. I didn’t get a chance to take a picture because it was gone so fast. I subbed spinach instead of kale because I needed to use it and it worked great
Rachel Janes says
I’ve made this a few times already and it’s my absolute favorite!!
Courtney Paige says
This is a great meal prep staple in our house. Love the use of the seasoning packet - lighter!
This recipe was amazing! The pesto made it stand out from a traditional pasta salad type side. Can’t wait to make it a summer picnic staple!