I love a good pasta salad. And I’ve been on quite a pesto kick lately, too. So I decided to combine them both in this delicious spring salad that will take you right into summer.
Quirky Cavatappi pasta, slathered in basil pesto, combines with chunks of tender chicken breast, sweet red & yellow cherry tomatoes, creamy mozzarella balls & toasted pine nuts. Drizzle everything with a little more basil balsamic pesto vinaigrette and sprinkle everything with some fresh, chopped basil. And as you can imagine, it’s one of those salads that tastes better the longer you let it sit!
The thing I love about this basil pesto salad is that it sits well at room temperature. Perfect for picnics and back yard barbecues.
I used basil pesto here. But honestly, any of your favorite pestos would work well. Try it with spinach, arugula, kale, or sun dried tomato pesto!
Want to keep this vegetarian? Omit the chicken. Add any vegetables or cheeses of your choice. Use your favorite pasta shape. It’s very versatile, quick and easy to make and perfect for feeding a crowd!
- 16 ounce box of Cavatappi
- 16 ounces of basil pesto ( I used 2 jars of store bought pesto, but feel free to make your own!)
- ¼ cup of white balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup of red cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces of small mozzarella balls, halved
- ½ cup of onion (red, vidallia, shallot, whatever you prefer) diced
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped (I used a rotisserie chicken)
- ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup of chopped fresh basil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook the Cavatappi according to package instructions, drain and place in a large bowl.
- Add 8 ounces of pesto and toss to coat.
- Add the chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella and pine nuts.
- Combine the remaining 8 ounces of pesto with the balsamic vinegar.
- Pour over the salad and toss to combine.
- Season with salt & pepper.
- Sprinkle with the fresh basil and toss a few more pine nuts to garnish.
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