Kale Pesto Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad is an easy summer pasta salad! It's absolutely delicious, feeds a crowd, and you can make it ahead. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Look at this gorgeous homemade pesto! ↓

One may even say that this kale pesto is better than the rest-o. (I couldn’t resist.)

Store-bought ain’t got nothin’ on this stuff. In fact, store-bought pesto doesn’t even deserve to share the same name. There is nothing like fresh pesto and you know what? It’s so much easier to make than you think. Just a few pulses in your food processor or blender does the trick.

Homemade kale basil pesto on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad is an easy summer pasta salad! It's absolutely delicious, feeds a crowd, and you can make it ahead. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This kale pesto is my new favorite. It’s fantastic on grilled meats and fish, warm pasta, pizza, and especially on cold pasta salads like today’s kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad. This pasta salad takes advantage of spring and summer’s bounty with fresh basil and lots of cherry tomatoes. I love adding a little crunch with pine nuts, but chopped walnuts would be equally as fabulous especially since walnuts are in the pesto itself.

We devoured this kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad in only a few days– and there’s only 2 of us! It gets better after a day or two in the fridge because the flavors have settled, mingled, married and the pesto has seeped deep into the pasta itself. I can’t praise this recipe enough; it’s my summer anthem in the form of food.

Kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad is an easy summer pasta salad! It's absolutely delicious, feeds a crowd, and you can make it ahead. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Kale Pesto Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

Kale Pesto

  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup fresh basil, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup (65g) chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon (2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 teaspoon - 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound dry pasta (elbow, bow tie, rotini, etc)
  • handful fresh basil
  • 2 cups (300g) halved cherry tomatoes
  • 6 ounces mozzarella, cubed (or shredded or mozzarella balls)
  • 3/4 cup (100g) pine nuts (or chopped walnuts)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Combine kale, basil and walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until greens and nuts are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides, then add olive oil, parmesan, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste. Run the processor until everything is blended together. Set aside.
  3. Stir the remaining pasta salad ingredients in with the pasta. Toss with pesto. Add more basil and pine nuts if you wish (I like lots of basil).
  4. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Tastes best on day 2 or 3, so it's perfect to make ahead of time!

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Kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad is an easy summer pasta salad! It's absolutely delicious, feeds a crowd, and you can make it ahead. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

PS: here are the bowls I use in this photo 🙂

Absolutely delicious and addicting kale basil pesto with walnuts and garlic! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Kale pesto mozzarella pasta salad is an easy summer pasta salad! It's absolutely delicious, feeds a crowd, and you can make it ahead. Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

19 comments

  1. I love that kale pesto, what a perfect salad for summer!

  2. Do you think there’s anything one can sub for the pine nuts in the actual salad? I’m not a fan. Would more walnuts, like from the pesto, work? Looks delicious either way. Can’t wait to try this one 🙂

  3. What kind of kale did you use for the pesto? I’m partial toward dinosaur kale but maybe curly would blend better?

  4. Looks delicious! Can’t wait to make this this summer.

  5. This looks amazing!! Regarding the pesto sauce, about how much would you say this recipe makes? And how long would you say the sauce would keep on its own in the fridge? Thanks Sally!

  6. Just a small whine: I’m 37 weeks along and on bedrest and all I want to do is hit the grocery store to make these salads! Drooling over here!! Guess me and baby will make them together soon!

  7. This looks amazing! Do you think I’d be able to swap out the kale for spinach? Thanks!

  8. How much salt? you mention salt in the directions but not in the ingrediaents?

  9. This looks amazing! Pesto is one of my family’s favorites. It’s my daughter’s request every year on her birthday. I’ve made it with basil, with zucchini and with kale. I love the idea of using it in pasta salad, it’s perfect for BBQ season.

  10. Could I use pine nuts instead of walnuts for the pesto? How much would I need to use?

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