Garden Pesto Pasta Salad With Rotini

Garden Pesto Pasta Salad With Rotini

The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
304 Calories
25g Fat
17g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 304
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 518mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 39mg 197%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 194mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pasta salad is a great dish any time of year and the perfect way to use up vegetables from the garden or what you have in the fridge. This tasty garden pasta salad is loaded with chopped fresh vegetables, like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and celery, as well as black olives and red onion, if you like. A prepared pesto combined with mayonnaise and lemon juice gives the pasta salad fresh, herby flavor and a creamy consistency. Toss this side dish together and bring it to the next cookout or picnic, serve it for dinner along with grilled chicken, or make it part of a vegetarian meal.

Rotini (corkscrew) pasta is called for in this recipe, but you can use farfalle, fusilli, or another similar short pasta. Also, feel free to adjust or swap out the vegetables depending on your tastes and what you have in the garden or refrigerator. A store-bought pesto means this pasta salad is quick to put together, but go ahead and make it from scratch if you prefer homemade or have a bounty of basil.


  • 8 ounces rotini pasta

  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and diced

  • 1 cup diced and seeded tomato

  • 1 (2 1/2-ounce) can sliced olives, drained

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/4 cup chopped celery

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion. optional

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons pesto

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Garden Pesto Pasta Salad With Rotini ingredients

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  2. Cook the rotini pasta in boiling salted water following the package directions.

    pasta in a pot with water

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  3. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water.

    pasta in a colander

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  4. Set the pasta aside to cool completely and then transfer it to a large serving bowl.

    pasta in a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  5. Toss the cooled rotini pasta with the diced cucumber, tomato, sliced ripe olives, bell pepper, celery, and red onion (if using).

    pasta and vegetables in a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  6. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, pesto, lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper, salt, and parsley, if using.

    sauce in a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  7. Combine with the pasta and stir gently until blended. Taste and add more salt as needed.

    pasta salad in a bowl

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time.

    Garden Pesto Pasta Salad With Rotini in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  9. Serve cold or at room temperature and enjoy.

Recipe Variation

To make the salad hearty enough to be a main dish, add some diced cooked chicken or cubed leftover ham, roast beef, or turkey. To keep it vegetarian, you can toss in a bit of fresh mozzarella or crumbled feta cheese.

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