Pesto Pasta Salad Grilled Vegetables

Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables. Not your every day salad - perfect for a meal or a party!

Hot, sticky summer days are here – perfect days to think about NOT heating up the house and about eating light & healthy. And when light and healthy means cool and delicious, too, like this Pesto Pasta Salad, that’s a winner.

Pesto Pasta Salad Grilled Vegetables

Pesto Pasta Salad is not your every day salad – perfect for a meal or a party

This Pesto Pasta Salad is dressed with pesto and brimming with smoky grilled vegetables, all punctuated by a cool, crisp hit of vinegar and crunchy, creamy pine nuts. You can see that there’s a good measure of the healthy stuff (including cannellini beans) and this salad is a little light on the pasta coz that’s how I roll.

Pesto Pasta Salad’s a great a meal on its own (and a great pack away for lunches) you couldn’t go wrong with some good bread & olive oil for dipping, maybe a glass of wine. Yeah, do that and have a party on the deck or patio or tote this along to a bbq, party or a potluck.

The is a bonus recipe because those grilled vegetables make a fantastic side in their own right with the Italian herbs (I use my own blend of Italian Seasoning) and that slight hint of smoke. Try them with just about any grilled chicken or fish. And if these veggies aren’t your fave, just use ones you love.

Pesto Pasta Salad Grilled Vegetables

Pesto Pasta Salad has a decidedly Italian Flair.

Any pesto work in this dish, traditional, like my favorite Pesto Recipe or a little non-traditional, like my Radish pesto. It’s supplemented with a little parsley from my garden. Pesto freezes beautifully so when I’m at a loss of what to do with those radish tops, pesto is the first thing that comes to mind.

Just after I took my pictures & we made a good dent in the Pesto Pasta Salad I saw I forgot the cherry tomatoes – and it was still delish. What you don’t want to forget is the Red Wine Vinegar; it brightens up the whole salad. You might want to drizzle any leftover Pesto Pasta Salad with a bit more vinegar. Don’t stint on the salt, either.

I love pine nuts in pesto because they’re so creamy and just mix in beautifully, but they can be pricey. Look for them in bulk and you’re going to pay less than the package and if there’s a nut outlet, consider buying from them. Either way, a half a cup plus a few for sprinkling probably won’t break the bank, especially considering that this is a meatless meal. Store all nuts in the freezer & they stay fresher longer.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad brimming with grilled vegetables.

Pesto Pasta S alad with Grilled Vegetables

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 6 ounces farfalle (1/2 box) cooked al dente
  • 2 small or one large zucchini or summer squash, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 red onion, sliced 1/2″ inch thick
  • 2 red and/or orange bell peppers, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, your favorite blend or homemade concoction
  • Salt and pepper
  • one to two teaspoons red wine vinegar, to taste
  • 15 ounces (1 can) of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced or one regular tomato, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup pesto or more if desired (about 1/4 the recipe – freeze the rest…)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar

Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente in boiling, salted water. Rinse and drain well.

In the meantime, preheat grill to medium high heat (350 degrees). In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and/or summer squash, bell pepper, onion, Italian seasoning and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Grill vegetables, covered, four to six minutes on each side until lightly charred. Let cool and chop, sprinkle with red vinegar to taste and set aside.

Toss pasta and beans with pesto and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine. Taste the vegetables and make certain they are seasoned to your taste. Add a few more herbs or a bit more vinegar if desired.

Mix gently with vegetables and refrigerate for two hours or so to combine ingredients. Drizzle with lemon or additional red wine vinegar before serving – this recipe needs that touch of acid at the end or it will tend to taste dull.

Garnish with pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil and/or basil. Note: this recipe contains olive oil, which thickens up when cold. If it seems “stiff” add a tablespoon or so of warm water or another drizzle of olive oil before serving.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Cooking & Kitchen Hacks

Easily Cut Cherry Tomatoes, Grapes, Olives, Etc. Simply place the lid of a yogurt, sour cream container, or other suitable object upside down (lip up) on the counter, fill with whatever round objects you want to cut, place another lid lip down, press gently but firmly and slice horizontally through the center. Click here for more hacks!

Slice round objects between two lids! Run knife horizontally thru center..

Slice round objects between two lids! Run knife horizontally thru center..

Put Your own Spin on It

  • Vary the vegetables per season or per what you like – Broccoli would be wonderful here.
  • You could break this down – serve the pasta and pesto with the vegetables on the side.  I actually like the vegetables without the pasta as a side dish “Medley.”
  • Of course, you could certainly play with this anyway the spirit moves you…
Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pasta Salad

Grilled Vegetables are marvelous in the Pesto Pasta Salad and they’re every bit as good on their own!

Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 337
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11 g 16 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 6 mg 2 %
Sodium 345 mg 14 %
Potassium 533 mg 15 %
Total Carbohydrate 51 g 17 %
Dietary Fiber 8 g 31 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 14 g 28 %
Vitamin A 7 %
Vitamin C 63 %
Calcium 15 %
Iron 17 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


I’ll be taking this to Fiesta Friday #186, hosted this week by  Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck and Alex @ Turks Who Eat.  Stop by and visit! 🙂

28 thoughts on “Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

    • Oh, of course!! I have to say I’m only really starting to appreciate the yellow summer squash in the past few years. I started eating it just because it’s good for me and it’s tasting better to me with exposure. 🙂

  1. So many pasta salads are lacking in flavor, however, this one looks like it’s the complete opposite! Thanks for sharing on Fiesta Friday! – Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck – Colleen

  2. Looks perfect Mollie– I don’t like to over-pasta my pasta salads either. More flavor with all those grilled veggies. And love the gentle flavor and texture of the pine nuts–We get ours at Costco. $$ for a big bag but it lasts forever in the fridge and is cheaper than buying little amounts over and over. Happy weekend ahead– What are you up to?? We’re off to dear friends daughter’s wedding tomorrow– can’t wait to see Lacey being a bride! Hope you’re doing well friend…

    • Oh my gosh you never stop, lol!! I’ve been having computer issues – postings not too from my form because I have a few ready or just about to go, but comments…my brother is going to walk me through by phone how to put a new hard drive in the computer. How fun will that be, lol – okay that’s sarcasm, haha!

      • Whoa– are you serious?? sounds tricky to work on a computer!! Larry changed the cracked glass face on his phone and I’ve never seen him so stressed out! (but he got it fixed!!). I was at the Apple store today, trying to figure out how I’m switching from old iphoto to photos. (I’m a slow learner!). Hope you get your computer up and going perfectly! Why do we depend so much on these machines now??! blessings friend–you’e the best! xo

        • 🙂 I feel just like your husband, lol! It’s a small miracle I even have a blog, I am so non-technical and to tell the truth, I can barely run my phone! Which I only got two years ago when I started helping the folks, lol! Although years ago, I used to be pretty savvy and was something of a genius when it came to DOS, haha!!

          • That’s the problem Mollie– you just get a technology down and it changes!! I changed from iphoto to photos on our trip (with help from son-in-law Brian, who is an Apple engineer and tries to keep me current) but it’s so much harder for me to use!! I’m sure I’ll get it about the time it changes again! Also– made your fresh tomato pasta sauce with the end of our tomatoes!! awesome! And it made enough for leftovers. So I’m posting it tomorrow– giving you full credit– thanks thanks! xox

            • Wonderful! I’m glad you liked it. And glad you have a coach. The tomatoes at the folks are looking pretty darned sad – the watering schedule wasn’t kept up and about half of each plant is just gone, but we’re getting one or two tomatoes a day. I’m hoping for enough to make this glorious tart I saw, but we’ll see.

    • Hi Loretta, it was really good! Sometimes I think pesto dishes can be overwhelming but this one has such a nice balance.

      It’s a rework from a very early post with awful pics; since I’ve been with the folks I haven’t had time to do a lot of detail work on pricing so I’m trying to find a balance and stay true to my original frugal roots. 🙂

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