This pasta salad is full of flavor thanks to the fresh pesto and bursting grilled grape tomatoes. It’s easy to make, perfect for a picnic or potluck, and it’s fit for nearly everyone’s palate. Enjoy!

This recipe comes to us from Jackie Newgent, RDN.

Serves 4


  • 8 ounces tri-color grape tomatoes (about 24)
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry whole grain rotini or farfalle
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto (see below) or pesto of choice
  • 1½ cups packed fresh baby arugula (1½ ounces)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, pan-toasted
  • 4 lemon wedges

For Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup pan-toasted pine nuts or shelled roasted pistachios
  • 2 to 3 large chopped garlic cloves
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon each crushed red pepper flakes and smoked paprika
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil


To make pasta salad:

1. Preheat a grill or grill-pan. Insert grape tomatoes onto skewers. Brush with the olive oil. Grill over direct medium-high heat until rich grill marks form, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, boil pasta per package directions (ideally in salted water), about 10 minutes. Drain, toss with ice cubes to cool, then drain again.

3. Toss the cooled pasta with the pesto. Then toss with the arugula, grilled grape tomatoes, sea salt, and pine nuts. Adjust seasoning.

4. Serve with the lemon wedges.

To make Fresh Vegan Basil Pesto:

1. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients except olive oil until finely chopped.

2. Then drizzle in olive oil and puree until desired consistency. Makes 1 cup. Freeze extra pesto for later use.