There are two types of people in the world: those who love and those who abhor pesto, that green-hued sauce traditionally made with crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts, blended with parmesan cheese and olive oil. Maybe it’s the texture, or maybe it’s simply how pesto tastes, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: You can never go wrong with pesto pasta, especially during the fall.
During the early months of fall, when the evenings drop a few degrees but are otherwise still warm, the first dish to come to mind for dinner — and the easiest to make — is any pasta-based dish, with pesto pasta right at the top of the list. Depending on how hearty you like your pasta, pesto pasta recipes can take as little as 10 minutes, while others are a bit more involved, but never take more than an hour. And even that is a stretch.
Whether you’re a fan of protein-packed pasta or lighter, more heart-healthy takes on an otherwise carb-loaded dish, we have 15 pesto pasta recipes that’ll convince even the most passionate of pesto-haters.
Pesto mozzarella chicken pasta
There’s no better time to dust off the ole slow-cooker than the start of fall, and Magical Slow Cooker’s slow-cooker pesto pasta should be the recipe you start with. Brimming with mozzarella cheese and lemon-marinated chicken, it’ll take just over five hours for this dish to cook, so time it right.
Summer Seafood Lasagna
Seafood and lasagna aren’t two words you typically hear together but hear us out. This lasagna is packed with all of summer’s best flavors and isn’t the heavy dish you are used to having during the winter months.
10-minute pesto pasta
No joke, this pesto pasta recipe — which requires only six ingredients — will take you a whopping 10 minutes to make. And don’t you dare skimp on the toasted pine nuts, either.
Avocado-kale pesto pasta
Another vegan-friendly dish, Dolly and Oatmeal’s pesto pasta is unique in that it has a richer pesto paste, thanks to the addition of avocado.
Trapanese pesto pasta & zoodles with salmon
For a low-carb, heart-healthy pesto pasta dish, Diabetic Living magazine’s recipe swaps the noodles for zucchini noodles — or zoodles — and tosses in seared salmon instead of chicken.
Roasted red pepper pesto pasta
For a vegetarian-friendly pasta loaded with roasted red pepper flavors, Bev Cooks’ pesto pasta recipe is calling your name. Our favorite part of this dish? The added crunch from the toasted almonds.
Avocado pesto pasta
A pasta packed with healthy fats, you’ll feel incredible after scarfing down a hearty bowl of this 15-minute avocado pesto pasta. And to make it gluten-free, simply sub the spaghetti pasta for gluten-free spaghetti.
Vegan roasted kale pesto pasta
Food blogger Rabbit and Wolves specializes in vegan comfort food, so you can trust that this vegan-friendly, kale pesto pasta — full of nutrients and sliced vegan sausage — will more than please meatless fare devotees.
Pesto penne with chicken & cherry tomatoes
The Food Charlatan’s pesto penne with juicy, steak-seasoned chicken, green beans and cherry tomatoes comes together in a quick 30 minutes.
Caprese pesto pasta bake
Slowly pan roast cherry tomatoes, boil your favorite short cut pasta, and toss with basil pesto, spinach and mozzarella or burrata cheese. Top the mixture with even more cheese and prosciutto, and bake for 20 minutes. What an easy, sure-fire way to warm up your kitchen — and drown in the sweet, sweet scent of herbs, pasta and cheese.
Pesto & burrata bucatini
According to How Sweet Eats, “this meal is embarrassingly simple” — and they aren’t wrong. Simply toss bucatini pasta with pesto and fresh basil leaves, and top with a ball or two of burrata cheese.
Grilled chicken & asparagus pesto pasta
A lighter, flavorful pasta recipe, Recipe Runner’s grilled chicken and asparagus pesto pasta isn’t just a summer-appropriate meal. On weekdays or -nights when you just want a healthier option, this green, crunchy pesto pasta will do just the trick.
Shrimp pesto pasta with spinach & mushroom
Buttery, cajun-spiced shrimp tossed into a bed of tender pasta, homemade pesto and veggies is a 45-minute dish that’ll warm you right up when the weather inevitably takes a turn for the chilly.
Healthy baked pesto rigatoni
Baked pesto rigatoni tastes great when using only the freshest seasonal veggies; and for this recipe, you’ll need heirloom tomatoes. Combine with al dente whole wheat rigatoni, shredded asiago, pine nuts and pesto, bake for 10 to 15 minutes, and you’ll have yourself a creamy, healthy dinner for the next two to three days.
Chicken pesto pasta in creamy white wine sauce
We saved the richest, most savory pesto pasta recipe for last. Italian-seasoned chicken, butter sautéed mushrooms and a pesto white wine parmesan sauce: It doesn’t get heartier than this.
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