Pesto Pasta Salad


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4th of July is right around the corner and that means many things… 1: my epic 4th of July menu is coming this week (here’s last years if you want to get excited for whats to come!). 2: BBQ and Pool Parties are about to kick into high gear. 3: we need some epic potluck style dishes to bring to our friends house. So let’s make this Pesto Pasta Salad!

Pesto Pasta Salad from (@whatsgabycookin)

There’s nothing more terrifying than a pasta salad that’s laced with mayo that sits out in the sun all day at a BBQ. It gives me the heebeegeebees and no one wants to feel like that. So instead, I’m whipping up this Pesto Pasta Salad all season long. It can sit out all day at room temp and STILL be delicious. It’s light and fresh and bright and SO flavorful. Basil, Chives, Dill, the works. Plus bacon to give it a little zip. Although, feel free to leave it out entirely if you or someone you know is a vegetarian. It’s still gonna be fantastic!

Happy Pesto Pasta Salad potlucking!

Pesto Pasta Salad

5 from 2 votes


  • 6-8 slices bacon
  • 1 pound dried short pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup castelvetrano olives pitted and halved
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Basil Vinaigrette


  • Make the basil vinaigrette in a blender and set aside.
  • Cook the bacon until crispy. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Once cool, crumble the bacon into bite-sized pieces.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.
  • Place the drained pasta, bacon, tomatoes, olives, basil vinaigrette, and herbs in a large bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Photography by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

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Recipe Rating


  1. Susan

    Can this be made vegetarian? (No bacon). Should I add something else in its place?

    • Gaby

      the post talks about that!! just leave it out and you’re good to go

    • Aly B

      Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh? If yes, what quantities? Thanks!

    • Gaby

      for the basil vinaigrette? no it doesn’t work

  2. jennifer

    I have been using your basil vinaigrette in pasta salads, it’s so good and I feel like it makes a better dressing than just straight pesto, but never thought of your idea of adding bacon… yum! can’t wait to try this!

    • Gaby

      I get the ones at the olive bar counter at whole foods usually

  3. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    This is my kind of pasta salad. And perfect for 4th of July. Just say “NO” to mayo + sunshine! 🙂

  4. Amy

    My boyfriend won’t eat things without globs of meat on top—would shredded chicken work in this? Or something else?

  5. Lindsay Cotter

    Love that you used pesto in this pasta salad! I LOVE pesto!! This is a perfect summer side!

  6. Marcia

    I have made this twice already! It is delicious. The second time I used a pesto sauce from Costco and it was pretty good. Think the one from recipe is a little better. Will be a go to dish

  7. Jessica B.

    Just made this tonight and the surprise ingredient that made it extra yum for me was the dill! I always have Costco pesto on hand cuz the boy loves the cheese in it but I mixed half and half with Gaby’s basil vinaigrette – super yummy. Thanks!

  8. Cat

    Made this tonight with my boyfriend and it was so delicious and easy! The basil vinaigrette was so fresh. We substituted shredded rotisserie chicken for bacon. Thanks Gaby!

  9. Ginger Sutton

    It says to put the basil vin in and then it says add the dressing. Is there a second dressing? Thanks

  10. Jen

    5 stars
    This was soooo good it was a hit with my guests. Everyone asked for the recipe. I served it with BBQ ribs and corn on the cob. My husband and kids loved it too. I’m serving it once a month especially during the summer. Love all your recipes and presentation!