This pesto pasta salad recipe is a fresh, delicious summer side dish! Make it gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free rotini pasta. Vegan.
1recipe Basil Pesto, made with an additional ¼ cup olive oil (½ cup total)
12ouncesCellentani, Cavatappi, or Fusilli pasta
¾cup pasta water
2small zucchini, sliced into very thin rounds*
1small yellow squash, sliced into very thin rounds*
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
¼cuptoasted pine nuts
Red pepper flakes, optional
Prepare the pesto and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions, or until slightly past al dente. Before draining the pasta, scoop ¾ cup of the starchy pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and toss it with a little olive oil so that it doesn’t stick together. Spread the pasta on a baking sheet and let it (and the reserved pasta water) cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl combine the pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, pesto, the reserved pasta water, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss. Season to taste. Top with the pine nuts, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes, if using. Serve the salad at room temperature.
*I like to slice these on a mandoline so that my slices are thin enough to enjoy raw in this pasta salad.