There’s nothing like a light, healthy, cool pasta salad on a hot summer day. This pesto pasta salad is the PERFECT warm-weather meal: it’s fast, easy, and (maybe you already got this from the title) it uses only four ingredients! Pasta, Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese.
Prepared pesto is, in my opinion, one of the best all-purpose ingredients you can use. You can buy it from the store already made or make it fresh in only a few minutes (I used my lemon arugula pesto, but you can use traditional basil pesto or even cilantro jalapeno pesto!). It’s a healthy sauce that’s super flavorful from a highly concentrated amount of fresh herbs and garlic, it has a great texture from the nuts that are added to it, and it comes together with good-for-you extra virgin olive oil. Yummmm.
Pesto and goat cheese go together like two peas in a pod. Something about the fresh and bright pesto with the tangy and soft goat cheese works so well- add cherry tomatoes and earthy whole wheat pasta to the mix and you’ve got it made in the shade! It’s very similar to this gnocchi post from a while back.
This involves nothing more than cooking up some pasta and mixing pesto, halved cherry tomatoes, and crumbled goat cheese into it. However, there are a couple of different options for this meal.
The first is cold. In this version, the goat cheese stays, for the most part, crumbled and separated. Before you add the pesto, tomatoes, and goat cheese to the pasta, run cold water over the pasta until it’s completely cool.
The second is warm. In this version, the goat cheese, pesto, and tomatoes are added to the pasta while it’s still warm, causing the cheese to melt and infuse into the pesto, making it somewhat creamier.
Both are delicious! I prefer the cooler version.
One note about crumbling goat cheese: this can be a little challenging, since the cheese is so soft. I recommend using a fork for this and, poking it with the tines in a twisting motion, crumbling the goat cheese directly into the pasta.
I’ll keep this post short and sweet because a) I’m in the middle of making pulled pork and southern-style green beans (with my all-time favorite coleslaw as well) for Zach’s birthday celebration today (he turned 31 on Tuesday!) and b) I’m still recovering from my lengthy income post from last weekend. And yes, I will likely be posting the recipes for both of these things, since you asked :-)
Recipe below. Enjoy!
Four Ingredient Pesto Pasta Salad
- 16 oz. pasta I used whole wheat rotini
- 3/4 cup prepared pesto I used lemon arugula pesto
- 4 oz. soft goat cheese (chevre) crumbled
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- Cook pasta according to directions in salted water.
- Drain pasta (see notes)
- Mix pasta with pesto, goat cheese, and tomatoes.
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.
- When you mix the goat cheese with the warm pasta, it will melt into the pesto creating a creamy texture. If you want the cheese to stay intact (or if you want cool pasta salad immediately), rinse the pasta with cold water until cooled completely before mixing with other ingredients.
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.