Pasta Salad with Peas and Pesto

[Photograph: Jenniger Segal]

Fresh herb pesto makes a flavorful dressing for a springy pasta salad studded with green peas. Chopped walnuts add delicious crunch and fresh lemon juice brightens it up.

About the author: Jennifer Segal is the chef behind the popular food blog, Once Upon a Chef.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!

Pasta Salad with Peas and Pesto

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4 as a side dish
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:20 minutes


  • For the Pesto:
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil or mint (or combination), plus more for garnish
  • 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts or pinenuts, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1-2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Salad:
  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) gemelli pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 8 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) frozen green peas, thawed


  1. 1

    To make the pesto, combine the herbs, garlic, cheese, nuts, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse several times until finely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside.

  2. 2

    In a large bowl, combine the pasta and peas. Add the pesto little by little until salad is adequately dressed. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more lemon juice. Garnish salad with chopped nuts and chopped herbs, if desired.


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