Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta Salad has everything you could want: basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, asparagus, lemon zest…it’s overflowing with flavor and color and pizazz!
You know you can’t resist a pasta salad with a name like that. It’s superb and has a unique balance of flavors that complement each other and really pop in your mouth. It may be my favorite pasta salad ever.
We first made this pesto pasta salad last weekend for a bridal shower, but made it in a large quantity, so I had to make it again to pare the recipe down to a normal amount.
Lots of fresh spring bounty is included here: asparagus, peppers, basil pesto, lemon zest, along with artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes. This is like heaven for your tummy.
Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta Salad
Start by blanching the asparagus for about 45 seconds. You should have a bowl of ice water ready so you can immediately plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop the cooking process, and then immediately remove it from the ice water and drain well.
Once the asparagus has cooled, chop it into one inch pieces.
While the asparagus is cooling, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain it well and put it in a large bowl. I like to have a deep, very large bowl to mix this in and don’t really have one large enough.
My trick is to take the top to my plastic cake carrier and turn it upside down—it makes a perfect, large mixing bowl. (In these pictures, you’ll see my stainless steel mixing bowl which is what I started out with but turned out not to be large enough).
To the cooked pasta, add a can of drained artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, the chopped asparagus, and peppers.
Then mix up your dressing—and this is the best part. This dressing is adapted from a Rachael Ray pesto pasta salad recipe and is so, so good.
Add fresh lemon juice and zest to a cup of basil pesto, then mix in chopped shallot and garlic along with chopped parsley and about a tablespoon of olive oil. Whisk together until smooth and then stir into the pasta.
Voila! Try this Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta Salad for your Memorial Day party with Easy Baked Ribs or Brisket and you won’t be disappointed. And then keep it on file for Christmas—with all the pretty red and green, every time I look at this dish I think of Christmas!
Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta Salad
- 1 cup basil pesto
- Juice and zest from 1 lemon
- Additional juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb bowtie pasta
- 1 lb fresh asparagus
- 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 2 cups julienned sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside in large bowl.
- Blanch asparagus for 40-45 seconds. Remove immediately and plunge into ice water, then drain on paper towels. Chop cooled asparagus into one inch pieces and add to pasta. Add drained artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and peppers to pasta. Add dressing and stir gently until well mixed.