Meatless Dinner Options: Pesto Pasta Salad

Meatless Dinner Options: Pesto Pasta Salad

Since attending a vegan cooking class at Loblaws, I’ve been more open to creating meatless options to incorporate into one or two meals a week. Like this pesto pasta salad for example! The concept of meatless meals is becoming more and popular. It doesn’t mean you are committing to a vegan or vegetarian diet but just being more conscious about consuming less meat throughout the week.

But hey, if you are totally against the idea of going meatless – there is no reason why you can’t add some to this dish. In fact, I’ve made it both ways. Or if you are just looking to add protein, you can try adding some kidney beans or chick peas. That way you get the best of both worlds: meatless + protein packed.

Ingredients to make Pesto Pasta Salad:

1 package Catelli Smart Veggie Fusilli
3/4 cup homemade pesto or more for taste
 white onion thinly sliced
1 red pepper thinly sliced
1 green pepper thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

How to make Pesto Pasta Salad

Cook pasta according to directions on box. Once ready, drain & run cold water over it. Set aside in large bowl.

Prepare the star ingredient: homemade pesto. I only recently discovered how easy it is to make pesto from scratch which is crazy because it is the easiest thing to make, as long as you have a food processor! Ever since making it myself I refuse to get store bought. The taste is amazing, you can use different ingredients to get different textures and textures PLUS you can control the amount of sodium (AKA waaaaay less then the packaged stuff). If you are convinced, try this easy recipe here.

Use 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to sauté the sliced onions and peppers in a pan. Once veggies are ready, combine in bowl with pasta & pesto. Stir until all ingredients are covered with pesto (add more if needed).  Add remaining olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir once again. I like to let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavours sit. It’s even better the next day!