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Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Grill/Boil
  • Cuisine: Mexican/American


Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad with grilled corn and poblanos has definitely changed my mind on pasta salad. I’ve never been a fan of pasta salads, but this Cilantro Pesto Pasta Salad did the trick!


Units Scale

2 c packed fresh cilantro

1/2 c olive oil

1/3 c roasted salted pistachios

1 t finely grated lime zest

2 T fresh lime juice

1 medium clove garlic

2 large poblanos or 12 cans green chilies, drained

4 large ears corn, or about 3 c kernels

1 large red onion, cut into 4 wedges (I used a white onion)

A few red tomatoes sliced for color (optional)

12 oz fusilli pasta, cooked to package directions

1 1/2 c crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese


Combine cilantro, oil, pistachios, lime zest and juice, garlic and 3/4 t salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. (This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge but bring to room temperature before serving. If you want to make just the pesto, you may want to add more oil to the mixture because this made a very thick pesto.)

Preheat the grill to medium high. Grill poblanos, turning occasionally, until well charred and tender, about 14-16 minutes.

Grill the corn, turning as needed until slightly charred.

Brush each onion wedge with oil and grill until tender and has some grill marks, about 8 minutes.

Place poblanos in a plastic bag and let steam. This makes them easier to peel. Cool and then slice off the top. Make a slit in the side to flatten poblano. Skin should scrape right off from the top of the stem. A little bit of char doesn’t hurt the taste. Turn over and remove seeds. Chop into 3/4″ pieces. Place in a large bowl.

Slice corn off of cob.  Reserve half of corn for garnish and place the rest in  bowl with poblanos.

Slice onions into thinner slices and place in bowl.

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and transfer to bowl with vegetables.

Add pesto, half of the cheese and toss well. (You may not need to use all of the pesto. It is up to you how much you want on there.)

Serve topped with remaining corn, cheese and some cilantro leaves.


Thank you, Fine Cooking!

Keywords: Pasta Salad, cold pasta salad, pasta salad pesto, pasta salad Mexican, cilantro pesto, pasta salad cold,