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!
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.