Have you heard the news? A salad doesn’t have to be a side dish! A filling food like this Pepperoni & Pesto Pasta Salad may be called a salad, but don’t write it off as just an appetizer, this right here is the main course! A tasty and easy lunch or dinner in just 4 quick steps, the ingredients of this pasta salad may remind you of a charcuterie board. Can you blame me? All the best foods appear on meat and cheese boards, so why not put them all together to make one fantastic dinner recipe?
The grocery list.
- fusili pasta — This twirly pasta is great for pasta salads because it stands on it’s own as an ingredient within the pasta salad and it sops up the flavors.
- basil pesto (store bought or homemade) — There are multiple types of pestos on the market, you can substitute for whatever is the favorite in your house.
- persian cucumbers– These cucumbers are the perfect crunch in this pasta salad.
- kosher salt— Salt doesn’t just have it’s own flavor, it brings out the flavor of other ingredients.
- pepperoni– Flavorful and a hint of spice!
- marinated mozzarella pearls — You can substitute this with plan mozzarella or even with a different cheese like provolone or pepper jack.
- roasted red peppers— These peppers are delicate in texture and subtle in flavor and just enough of each to compliment this salad.
- sun-dried tomatoes in oil— The oil is well marinated and the sun-dried tomatoes themselves pack a ton of flavor.
- Fresh basil — Fresh is absolutely the best addition to this pasta salad. Pop of color and it rounds out the flavors of the pesto, pepperoni and mozzarella.
Cook the pasta as instructed in salted water, aldente, meaning it will still be slightly stiff and firm when bitten. Cooking pasta in salted water allows the pasta to absorb some of the salt. This will make the pasta more flavorful than if you simply sprinkled salt over the cooked pasta.
Once the pasta has cooked, toss it in a large serving bowl with the basil pesto until it is thinly coated. In a separate small bowl, toss the cucumber slices with salt and let sit for 5 minutes. Doing this will not only make your cucumbers taste better, but it will also prevent your Pasta Salad from being watery by removing excess water from the cucumbers.
To the large bowl with the pesto-covered pasta, add the remaining ingredients and toss. Add the salted cucumbers and toss your salad again to combine. Chill the Pepperoni & Pesto Pasta Salad in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it. Top your pasta salad with basil and serve it chilled.
Meal prep options.
This Pepperoni & Pesto Pasta Salad is a great meal prep option. Pasta salad seems to get better as the days pass the the flavors are able to settle into the pasta itself. The best way to store this pasta salad is in an airtight container in the fridge. It can keep for for 5-7 days, if it lasts you that long! Make a big batch on Sunday and take this for lunch during the week or serve it up for a quick dinner!
Looking for more dinner salad recipes?
Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Pepperoni & Pesto Pasta Salad recipe, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from ya’ll and do my best to respond to every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of your dayyyummm good recreations is my favorite!
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- 16 ounces fusili pasta
- ¼ cup basil pesto (store bought or homemade)
- 1 cup persian cucumbers, quartered
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup pepperoni, quartered
- 8 ounces marinated mozzarella pearls, halved
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- ¼ cup sundried tomatoes in oil, rough chopped
- Fresh basil for serving
- Cook pasta in salted water to package instructions, al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, toss it in a large serving bowl with the basil pesto to coat.
- In a separate bowl toss the cucumber slices with the salt and rest for 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the large serving bowl and toss. Lastly, add the salted cucumbers and toss again to combine. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Top with fresh basil and serve chilled.
Nutrition Information: Serves 8 / cals / g F / g C / g P