Pistachio Pesto Salad Recipe

This easy Pistachio Pesto Pasta Salad recipe with Asparagus and Arugula is the perfect cold make-ahead salad for picnics and summer gatherings.

Course Main Course, side
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword pasta salad with asparagus, pasta salad with pesto, pesto pasta salad recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 490 kcal
Author Kiki Johnson


  • 1 pound uncooked rotini pasta I used rotini
  • 2 -3 cups sautéed asparagus see notes - from about 1 small bunch
  • 3 large handfuls fresh baby arugula
  • parmesan shavings
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted pistachios shelled
  • 2 cups cocktail tomatoes
  • 1/2 batch pistachio pesto see notes, or traditional pesto
  • Lemon juice about half a big lemon
  • salt and pepper pepper
  • honey or maple syrup optional


  1. Cook your rotini pasta in a large pot with generously-salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta in a strainer, reserving some liquid in case you need to add some when tossing, then rinse pasta well with cold water until it is chilled. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl.

  2. Combine cooled pasta, sauteed asparagus, arugula, halved tomatoes, cheese shavings, pistachios and pistachio pesto in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze in some lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. I sometimes stir some maple syrup into the lemon juice to round it all up. Toss until evenly combined.

    Add a tiny splash of pasta water to the bowl, should you feel the pasta salad doesn't come together that easily. 

  3. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes