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Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

We grow a large crop of basil each summer and make dozens of jars of pesto sauce to use in dishes such as this salad. You'll love the combination of garlic and herbs.
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min. YIELD:18-20 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) spiral pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
  • 1 cup julienned fully cooked ham
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup julienned zucchini
  • 1 cup cubed Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup chopped radishes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) medium pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
  • 1 jar (2 ounces) chopped pimientos, drained
  • PESTO DRESSING:
  • 3 to 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cups grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup whole almonds, toasted

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the first 13 ingredients; set aside. For dressing, process garlic in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Add basil, cheese, slivered almonds, salt, tarragon, pepper and sugar. Process 15-30 seconds or until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add oil until mixture is smooth. Add vinegar and process until blended. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Just before serving, add whole almonds. Yield: 18-20 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1/2 cup) equals 315 calories, 21 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 14 mg cholesterol, 402 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 11 g protein.