Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad is a chilled macaroni salad tossed in a light pesto and nonfat Greek yogurt dressing with fresh cherry tomatoes. The protein-packed dressing is a healthy alternative to mayo-based dressings. Macaroni salad has never been easier or healthier!
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
This isn’t your every day, mayo-ey picnic salad. Nothing against mayo…I love it a little too much, to be honest.
This cheater macaroni salad recipe has a light and creamy consistency with healthier numbers than a mayo-based dish.
I also want to eat pesto all day, every day, but it can get expensive.
So, I found a way to create a healthier AND budget-friendlier pasta salad that still has ALL the pesto vibes in creamy, non-mayo dressing…and I’m sharing it with YOU.
What is the BEST pesto for pesto pasta salad?
You can use any pesto you like.
I love my Arugula Pesto with this recipe, but I also love kale pesto and classic basil pesto.
Let’s not forget about vegan pesto…there are some darn good recipes out there!
Anywho, my general rule is, as long as the pesto is delicious, it’s going to be awesome when mixed into a pasta salad.
How do you make Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad?
Step 1. Cook the pasta: Boil the macaroni noodles according to package instructions; rinse, drain, and set aside to cool.
Recipe tip: Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over cooled pasta and gently mix. This helps keep the pasta from drying out while it’s waiting to be dressed.
Step 2. Make the dressing: Combine pesto and Greek yogurt to make the sauce. The Greek yogurt trick is the calorie-reducing technique I use in so many creamy recipes, just like my Tortellini Pesto Pasta Salad.
Step 3. Combine ingredients: Fold pesto-yogurt dressing into the cooled macaroni noodles and tomatoes.
Step 4. Store and serve: Cover and refrigerate up to 5 days; serve chilled.
* See full recipe below
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad Ingredients
- whole-grain macaroni noodles
- pesto (I love to use Arugula Pesto)
- nonfat Greek yogurt (which gives it the creamy consistency)
- cherry tomatoes
- (optional) extra virgin olive oil
Recommended tools for this recipe
- chef knife and cutting board
- 4-quart pot (to boil pasta)
- stainless colander (to drain pasta)
- large mixing bowl
- silicone spatula or spoon (to stir things)
More pasta salad recipes
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad
- 2 cups Whole Grain Elbow Macaroni
- 1 cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup Pesto any pesto
- 12 Cherry Tomatoes halved
- (optional) extra virgin olive oil to coat noodles or to adjust dressing consistency
- Cook PASTA according to package instructions; rinse, drain, and set aside to cool.Recipe tip: Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil over cooled pasta and gently mix. This helps keep the pasta from drying out while it's waiting to be dressed.
- While pasta is cooking, whisk together YOGURT and PESTO in a large bowl.
- When pasta has cooled, gently fold it into pesto yogurt sauce, along with cherry tomatoes.
- Cover and refrigerate up to 5 days. Serve chilled.
Don't be afraid to add a little extra virgin olive oil, or small amounts of pesto, to alter the consistency of the pasta salad once all ingredients have been combined.
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