lunch & dinner, pasta, recipes, side dish, vegetarian & plant-based

Pesto Pasta Salad with an Easy Feta and Avocado Pesto

Well, considering that it was still snowing like crazy yesterday, it seems a bit crazy to me writing a post about a summer pesto pasta salad. But since weather in April is always weird, I’m still hopping for some warm days where we can make the first barbeque of the year. And what is the one thing you shouldn’t miss at a barbeque? Exactly, a delicious pasta salad. So today I’ll show you a super simple recipe for a pesto pasta salad with a homemade avocado feta pesto.

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pesto pasta salad with rucola, roasted corn and bell pepper served on a huge plate

Healthy and Well-Balanced

Well, when we want our pasta salad to be healthy and not to high in calories, the salad dressing is always a critical component.

Most recipes use mayonnaise or a classic pesto as their pasta salad dressing. And there’s no questions that it tastes super delicious. However, you need quite a lot of those high calorie ingredients, so that every single lettuce leaf and every noodle is nicely coated with it. And obviously, that adds up in a high number of calories!

That’s why I always try to make the pasta salad dressing myself, using healthy ingredients that aren’t too high in calories. And for this recipe, I came up with a yummy avocado feta pesto.

And yes, both ingredients are more on the higher calorie side. But since we also add in lots of fresh arugula and spinach, it will balance it out and the pesto ends up being really calorie friendly.

Depending on whether you serve your pesto pasta salad as a side dish or as a main course, you can also add an extra protein source as well. I really liked this salad with some fried tofu cubes or some pea protein pasta (instead of the regular whole wheat pasta).

Otherwise, you can always serve it along side some meat or fish.

Ingredients

The quantities, as they are given in this pesto pasta salad recipe, are equal to two servings. However, feel free to double, triple, or halve them, depending on how many people you’re cooking for.

And of course, leftovers are a great thing here! Therefore, you are welcome to prepare the double amount and save the rest for the following days.

If you like to have a larger portion or one with more or less calories, carbs, proteins, or fats, feel free to adjust the quantities to your individual needs.

I always base portion sizes on my personal dietary needs (presumably those of the average woman). However, you or perhaps one of your fellow eaters may need more (or less) than I do.

Ingredients for the Pasta Salad

  • 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of whole grain short cut pasta
  • one small can of canned golden corn (whole kernel)
  • one teaspoon of vegetable oil
  • about eight sun-dried tomatoes
  • one red bell pepper
  • 80 grams or 2.8 ounces of fresh arugula

Ingredients for the Avocado Feta Pesto

  • 50 grams or 1.8 ounces of arugula
  • 30 grams or 1 ounce of fresh spinach leaves
  • 50 grams or 1.8 ounces avocado which is about the half of small avocado
  • 50 grams or 1.8 ounces of feta cheese (fat-reduced)
  • the juice of one lime
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves (about to 2 sprigs)
  • a pinch of salt
ingredients for the avocado feta pesto on a light background

Variations and Substitutions:

If you don’t have spinach leaves on hand, you can substitute them with a mixture of arugula and basil.

Also, instead of canned corn, you can use pre-cooked, vacuum-packed corn on the cob. Just place it upright on a board and slice the corn kernels down vertically. And then you can fry them just like you would with the canned corn.

And in case the pasta salad is going to be your main dish, then you can add one of the protein sources mentioned above or serve along with some grilled or pan-fried meat or fish.

Pesto Pasta Salad – Here’s How to Make It

Okidoki, let’s get started with the actual pesto pasta salad recipe. First of all, let’s bring a pot of water to a boil and then cook the pasta al dente according to the package instructions.

Meanwhile, we can already heat a teaspoon of oil in the pan and roast the corn with a little salt for about five to seven minutes over medium heat.

Besides, you can already wash the arugula and spin it dry and cut the peppers and the dried tomatoes into small pieces. Put these three ingredients and the corn, once it is ready, in a large salad bowl.

Once the pasta is ready, you can drain it and let it cool in a colander. Or you can rinse it with some cold water, to speed up the cooling process.

roasted corn in a frying pan

Avocado Feta Pesto

To make the pesto, first wash the arugula, spinach and basil and toss everything dry. Now put all the ingredients in a tall container and puree them with an emergency blender to a smooth pesto. Alternatively, you can also use a blender or food processor.

Finally, you just have to add your pasta and the pesto to the salad and give it all a nice mix. If you want to, you can garnish it with some crumbled feta and maybe some basil leaves on top. But here you go, your pesto pasta salad is ready to serve!

pesto pasta salad with rucola, roasted corn and bell pepper served on a huge plate

I hope you like this super easy pesto pasta salad and that you give it a try soon. If you have any further questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comments, or send me a massage via email at contact@julesbalancedrecipes.com or Instagram (@julesbalancedrecipes).

And in case, you’ve tried this pesto pasta salad, I’d appreciate your comment and rating on this recipe. It’s easy to do via the comments section below this post and it would mean the world to me.

Have fun trying it out and bon appétit,
Jules

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pesto pasta salad with rucola, roasted corn and bell pepper served on a huge plate

Pesto Pasta Salad

Julia Schmitt
An easy, wholesome, and most importantly super delicious pasta salad with roasted corn, bell peppers, arugula and a creamy, flavorful avocado feta pesto. Leftovers can be easily stored in the fridge and suggestions on how to serve this salad can befound in the post above.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine international, Italian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 377 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 fryining pan
  • 1 medium-sized small pot
  • 1 emergency blender + a tall container or ablender or food processor

Ingredients
  

Pasta Salad

  • 100 g whole grain short cut pasta (~3.5 oz)
  • 1 small can of golden corn (whole kernel)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 8-10 sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 80 g fresh arugula (~2.8 oz) (in toatall 3.6 oz or 125g grams)

Avocado Feta Pesto

  • 50 g arugula salad (1.8 oz)
  • 30 g fresh soinach leaves (~1oz)
  • 50 g avocado (flesh) (~1.8 oz)
  • 50 g feta cheese (fat-reduced) (~1.8 oz)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves (about 2 sprigs)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Pasta Salad

  • Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions, then drain it and let it cool briefly in a colander.
  • Meanwhile, fry the corn with the oil in a pan over medium heat for about 5 to 7 minutes. Salt them generously.
    roasted corn in a frying pan
  • Wash the bell pepper and arugula, spin or shake the lettuce dry. Cut bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces.
    arugula, bell pepper and sun dried tomatoes in a big salad bowl

Pesto

  • Thoroughly wash the arugula, basil and spinach and add them together with the remaining ingredients to a tall container (alternatively to the blender or food processor) and blend them to a smooth pesto.
    preparation of the avocado feta pesto

Serve

  • Add the pasta, arugula, corn, sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper pieces, and the pesto to a large bowl and mix it well.
    cooked pasta, roasted corn, bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and avocado feta pasta in a big salad bowl

Notes

nutritional values per serving:
  • calories: 377 kcal
  • fat: 10 g
  • carbohydrates: 50 g
  • protein: 16 g
Keyword Avocado Feta Pesto, healthy pasta salad recipe, pesto pasta salad

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