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Pesto Pasta Salad

An easy and healthy pasta salad recipe with pesto and Italian flavor. This high protein pasta salad is so easy to fall in love with this summer. 

Pepperoni and Pesto Pasta SaladI discovered pesto a few years ago (I know, I lived under a rock before) and it is one of my favorite things. Garlic + Basil is always a winning combination in my book…I guess I have a soft spot for Italian food.

It’s actually more like a gigantic soft spot. Give me a plate of pasta, some garlic cheesy bread and I am a happy camper.

How can pasta salad be healthy? 

I’ve found that I can still enjoy pasta while focusing on healthy eating by keeping two things in mind:

  • Portion size – I like to use a measuring cup and forgo estimating when it comes to pasta. I always am more generous!
  • Whole wheat pasta – This is readily available at most stores. Whole wheat pasta is more nutrient dense than regular white pasta and I personally enjoy the flavor more!
  • Light on the cheese, heavy on the vegetables – Whether I puree some fresh spinach to throw into a marinara sauce or add in chunks of onions and bell peppers, I always try to add some extra vegetables to my pasta dishes! In most traditional recipes I go light on the cheese as well. I can normally halve the amount and still get the same flavor and satisfaction.

Pesto-Pasta-Salad

Pasta salad is a staple at summer gatherings and this Pesto Pasta Salad is a delicious Italian twist on classic pasta salad.

Ingredients in this Healthy Pesto Pasta Salad

  • Using pre-made pesto sauce makes this recipe easy-peasy, although if you are feeling very Martha Stewart it is really simple to whip up some pesto! (Here is a great pesto recipe!)
  • I love using turkey pepperoni to lighten up my Italian recipes, homemade pizza, and deli style sandwiches–it’s such a great alternate to normal greasy pepperoni.
  • Adding in fresh bell pepper makes this salad pop and provides a healthy dose of veggies and color to this simple pasta salad! You could easily add in more veggies with mushrooms and cherry roasted tomatoes. 

Healthy Pasta Salad

Pepperoni and Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad

Yield: 4 1 cup servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Healthy Pasta Salad - Whole grains, fresh veggies, lean protein, and delicious pesto make it the perfect healthy side for summer! 

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces box uncooked high protein pasta
  • 4 ounces prepared pesto
  • 6 ounces turkey pepperoni sliced
  • 2 cups chopped bell pepper, I used green and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, cut in small cubes or shredded
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce

Instructions

  1. Prepare pasta according to the box directions.
  2. Drain and rinse in cool water.
  3. Return to pan and add pepperoni, pesto, and bell pepper. Stir in mozzarella cheese.
  4. Refrigerate 2-3 hours to allow flavors to blend. Serve cold with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Notes

Add in mushrooms and cherry tomatoes for more vegetables.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 278Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 712mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 17g
 

I hope you will love this pesto pasta salad as much as I do!

I kind of had to take it away, lest I consume the whole thing in one ginormous sitting. Portion size definitely matters when eating healthy!

I love create delicious recipes like this using whole ingredients and high protein– no food is “off limits” just keep your portion sizes in mind.

Pesto Pasta Salad - An easy and healthy pasta salad with whole grains, fresh veggies, pesto, and mozzarella cheese. The perfect side dish for summer picnics and barbecues!

Pesto Pasta Salad – Whole grains, fresh veggies, delicious pesto make it the perfect healthy side for summer! 

Have a terrific Tuesday! I’m off this morning to hunt a some kind of dresser, buffet, etc. to be our new T.V. stand–wish me the luck of Jojo Gaines. 😉

Family camp also started this week and so we are enjoying all the camp amenities like a toddler class in the morning and kid-free dinners twice a week. It’s always hectic work-wise for Nate the first week, but we like to take little snatches and get away when we can, so this morning it’s a thrifty date!

Hope your week is going well too!

What is your go-to dish at a picnic or barbecue? 

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