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Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad

This creamy pesto pasta salad is an easy and healthy version of your favorite side dish. It's chock full of roasted summer vegetables for a subtle sweetness.
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword arugula pesto, basil pesto, cashew arugula pesto, creamy pesto pasta, easy side dish, healthy side dish, healthy summer salad, homemade pasta, pasta salad, pesto, pesto dishes, pestO PASTA SALAD, pesto recipe, vegan pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Sheetpan
  • Large bowl
  • Rubber spatula

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown rice pasta, fusilli or bowtie
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, multicolor
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups pesto
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt I use dairy free coconut milk yogurt, the Coyo brand

Cashew Arugula Pesto

  • 2 1/2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup parsley or basil Basil is more traditional for pesto but I like the flavor of the parsley with the arugula
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbs olive oil
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

Cashew Arugula Pesto

  • Add all of the pesto ingredients to a blender or food processor. Puree for 1-3 minutes (depending on the power of your machine) until the cashew bits are essentially smooth.

Pesto Pasta Salad

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes and asparagus on a parchment lined sheetpan. Toss with 1 tsp olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, oregano, pinch of red pepper flakes and pinch of black pepper. Spread the veggies out across the cookie sheet into one even layer. Bake about 15 minutes until slightly golden.
  • Boil the pasta according to the package instructions and be sure to salt the boiling water with at least 2 tbs of salt. When th pasta is cooked, strain it and rinse under cold water;
    this stops the cooking process and keeps the pasta from getting mushy. Tip: If you go with brown rice pasta add 1 tbs of olive oil to the water and stir the pasta every 2-3 minutes so that it doesn't stick together.
  • In a large bowl add the slightly warm pasta, pesto, yogurt, roasted vegetables, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of black pepper. Stir until everything is evenly combined. Enjoy!