Merry Christmas Eve! I’m sharing one last recipe before Christmas, and cutting it kind of close, I know! But I couldn’t let the season go by without sharing this easy recipe for Festive Pesto Pasta Salad.
So I’ll keep this post short and sweet today because I know everyone has a bunch of things to do before the big day tomorrow. And by a “bunch of things” I hope that doesn’t mean you’re shopping at the mall. I hope it means you’re busy visiting family and friends and celebrating with good food and tasty beverages!
I am totally ready for Christmas Day! I can’t believe it! The gifts are wrapped, the stockings are ready to be stuffed and the cookies are all baked! Now, I just need to patiently wait for Santa. 😉
I love having everything done before Christmas Eve. It’s my favourite day of the year, so I just want to sit back and enjoy it. Our plan for today involves relaxing by the tree in the morning with endless cups of coffee and visiting family and friends in the afternoon and evening. What are your plans?
Our morning tradition also involves assembling a gingerbread house! I would really like to say that we make a gingerbread house from scratch, but I’m nowhere near that patient. So we buy a pre-made package and just assemble and decorate it. It’s super fun, even if the house isn’t really edible!
Next year, I may try to make my own. And if I do, I will definitely follow the recipe and instructions by my friend Katherine at Love in My Oven. She posted her DIY Gingerbread House recipe last week and she made it look so easy and delicious. You should definitely check it out!
But getting back to this Festive Pesto Pasta Salad……
It might seem strange to share a salad recipe on Christmas Eve. After all, isn’t this the season of cookies, appetizers and beverages?!
It is, indeed! But my Christmas Day and Boxing Day also involves pairing leftover turkey and ham with salads. And my contribution is always a traditional macaroni salad. But this year, I’m breaking with tradition and whipping up something new!
I’m a huge lover of pesto, and when I found this red, white and green bow-tie pasta, I knew I had to make a Festive Pesto Pasta Salad. The pesto is a version of my creamy kale pesto, but it’s a little less creamy and a bit more chunky. The consistency works really well in this pasta salad.
Once the pesto is made (which you can prep ahead and store in the fridge), you just need to cook the pasta, add some red and green veggies (festive, right?!) and mix in the pesto. Voila! Your Festive Pesto Pasta Salad is ready to go!
This salad is definitely making it to my Christmas Day and Boxing Day gatherings. Hope you find a reason to make it too!
Before I end this post, I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I’ve enjoyed my first nine months of blogging, and you guys are such a huge part of that! Thank you for visiting the blog, trying my recipes and reaching out to me, either here or on social media! I love connecting with you guys, and it totally makes my day when you react to or make one of my recipes!
Have a safe and wonderful holiday celebrating with family and friends! I’ll have another post for you next week before 2017 ends!!Print
Festive Pesto Pasta Salad
Festive Pesto Pasta Salad makes the perfect side dish for the holidays and pairs nicely with leftover turkey and ham. Packed with kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and peppers, this is a healthier spin on a traditional pasta salad!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner; Lunch
For the kale pesto:
- 2 cups kale, packed and stems removed
- 1/4 cup cashews, raw
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, raw
- 1 tbsp basil, fresh or freeze-dried
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- Juice from half a lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the pasta salad:
- 250 g package bow-tie pasta, cooked
- 1 cup baby tomatoes, whole
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp feta cheese
- For the kale pesto: In a food processor, add the kale, cashews, sunflower seeds, basil, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic and lemon juice and pulse until it forms a chopped mixture. With the processor on low speed, drizzle in the olive oil. Process until blended but not creamy. The pesto should still have small bits of nuts, seeds and kale in it.
- For the pasta salad: In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, peppers and pesto. Stir until well combined. Place in a serving bowl and top with feta cheese (and a few additional tomatoes if you wish). Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 2-3 days.
- If you don’t have bow-tie pasta, you can use another type of pasta such as rotini, penne or macaroni.
- You can make the pesto a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container or mason jar until you are ready to assemble the salad.