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  • Becky M

Tricolore Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

A favorite summer pasta salad with loads of flavor! The tricolore pasta creates a multicolor visual appeal adding to its overall popularity. The subtle but aromatic pesto blended with a few simple ingredients largely contributes to the pungent flavor, enticing many devoted connoisseurs over the years. This pleasurable pasta salad is the perfect side dish to bring to a party, or best eaten solo as a meal. The most common confusion among enthusiasts is the mistaken appearance of the spinach for basil. Perhaps the pesto's dominance causes many to visually confuse the spinach for basil, or deliberately choose to think they are eating basil over spinach. This makes perfect sense and can get those non-spinach lover's to willingly dine on spinach! Of course, there is plenty of basil in the pesto to give the spinach a hearty herbal flavor. I can't say why, probably from years of habit, I only remember making this salad during the summer months, similar to making chili during the winter. Even though this is my habit, this pasta salad deserves to be enjoyed all twelves months of the year!

Serves 4 - 6

Main Ingredients

3 cups uncooked tricolore pasta, preferably smaller shell or spiral pasta, as desired

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup homemade pesto,

4-6 Italian plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

5 oz. fresh baby spinach

parmesan cheese, grated


1. Cook pasta al dente, or as directed on package: drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again and toss with olive oil. Set aside to cool.

2. Mix together pesto, tomatoes, olives and vinegar in large bowl.

3. Arrange half of the pasta and half of the spinach over pesto mixture spreading evenly; repeat with remaining pasta and then spinach.

4. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but no longer than 24 hours.

5. Toss and sprinkle with parmesan.


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