Pesto & Red Pepper Pasta Salad

pesto and red pepper pasta salad

pesto and red pepper pasta salad

It’s possible the passing of Labor Day has you thinking you’ve already made your last pasta salad of the summer.  But, wait!  With football season just kicking off tonight, my NFL crystal ball sees a whole lot more pasta salad in my future.

This pesto & red pepper variation is a great one for the upcoming cooler months, too, not only because it uses ingredients that you’re likely to have in your pantry all fall and winter long, but also because this particular recipe is very good served both cold and warm.  So, you can refrigerate it – or not! – depending on whether there’s a slight nip in the air.

Besides varying pasta salads, are there any dishes that you try to adapt from warm weather to cool weather foods?

Pesto & Red Pepper Pasta Salad
Makes: 6-8 servings
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 lb. rotini
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 ½ T. prepared pesto
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained & patted dry
  • 1 (7.5 oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & juice reserved, artichokes chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sliced almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 5 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. Cook rotini (or your favorite pasta) according to package directions. Drain and place in large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cream cheese, pesto, sour cream, mayonnaise, 2 roasted red peppers, and 3 T. of the artichoke liquid. Process until smooth. Add the zest and juice of the lemon as well as the salt and pepper. Process until combined.
  4. Dice remaining roasted red peppers.
  5. Combine cooked pasta and the sauce (start with about ⅔ of the sauce and add more as you need it. The pasta will absorb more sauce the longer it sits). Add in roasted almonds, diced roasted red peppers, and chopped artichoke hearts. Stir until everything is coated in sauce. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.