Grilled Veggies and Pesto Pasta Salad
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- salt to taste
- 3 ½ ounces whole-grain pasta
- 1 tablespoon prepared pesto
- ¼ cup sliced zucchini
- ¼ cup sliced eggplant
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped black olives, or to taste
For best results, we recommend using:
- Blend basil, olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic together in a food processor until pesto is smooth and consistent in color; season with salt. Alternately, put the ingredients into a deep bowl or pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; cook the whole-grain pasta at a boil until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes; drain and rinse under cold water until cold.
- Heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes on the hot grill pan until tender and a bit charred, about 5 minutes per side.
- Toss the drained pasta with 1 tablespoon pesto in a large bowl to coat. Stir zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and olives into the pasta. Refrigerate until serving.
Substitute pine nuts with any other nut you like. Cashews and walnuts are perfect (and happily they are less expensive than pine nuts!) You can also swap another herb such as parsley or cilantro for the fresh basil. Or add 1/2 cup spinach or kale to bulk up the volume. You can eliminate the Parmesan cheese from the pesto if you want to make it vegan.
What others are saying
Shannon Whittier says:
I made this with tortellini instead of pasta and adddd some chicken, big winner! I didn't use olives but used diced red pepper instead and loved it. Might try with the olives next time though!
Jessica Scott says:
This homemade pesto is hands down one of the best I've ever made. Maybe it was the garlic or the Parmesan, I'm not sure, but either way, this pasta was incredible. Grilling the veggies is a must! It gives it that charred, smoky flavor. Wonderful dish and perfect for entertaining guests!
Brenda Fisher says:
This dish makes meatless Monday so easy in my house. The pesto was packed with flavor took this pasta dish to the next level. added some fresh Parmesan cheese after it was done.