What Salad Goes With Pesto Pasta? 10 Best Salads

If you’re here because you don’t know what salad goes with pesto pasta, then you’re in the right place!

I’ve rounded up 10 of the best salads to serve with pesto pasta.

Whether you are looking for a light and refreshing salad or something a little heartier, there is sure to be something on this list that you’ll love.

So go ahead and give one (or all!) of these salads a try the next time you make pesto pasta!

See Also: What Meat Goes with Pesto Pasta? (11 Best Meats)

What Salad Goes With Pesto Pasta

What Salad Goes With Pesto Pasta? 10 Best Salads

Salads have such a wide range of flavors and textures that it can be difficult to find one that pairs well with pesto pasta.

You want something that will complement the creamy pesto sauce without being overpowered by it.

At the same time, you don’t want a salad that is going to be lost in the flavor of the pesto.

Fortunately, there are a number of great salads that work well with pesto pasta.

Here are 10 of the best salads for pesto pasta:

1. Salad Caprese

If simplicity is on your radar, then this salad is for you.

It’s light, refreshing, and takes no time at all to throw together.

The key to a good Caprese salad is using high quality ingredients – fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and fragrant basil.

Pro Tip: Season your tomatoes with salt before adding them to the salad – it will bring out their flavor even more.

3 Changes You Can Make:

  • Use balsamic glaze instead of balsamic vinegar
  • Add avocado for creaminess
  • Sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese

2. Nicoise Salad

This salad has been popular in my house for years because it’s so dang good, and it’s also really pretty to look at.

It’s got all the classic Nicoise salad ingredients like potatoes, green beans, olives, eggs and tuna.

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I usually make a big batch on the weekend and then we have it for lunch all week long.

Pro Tip: If you want to save some time, you can use canned tuna and boiled eggs.

3 Changes You Can Make:

  • Use roasted potatoes instead of boiled for a little extra flavor.
  • Add in some chopped up avocado for creaminess.
  • Use a vinaigrette instead of dressing for a lighter option.

3. Cobb Salad

I love this protein-packed salad for many reasons – it’s filling, it has a great variety of textures and flavors, and it’s so easy to customize.

The hard-boiled eggs add creaminess, the avocado provides healthy fats, the bacon adds a smoky flavor, and the blue cheese brings it all together.

Pro Tip: To save time, cook your bacon and eggs ahead of time. I like to do this at the beginning of the week so that I can easily throw together a salad for lunch or dinner during the week.

3 Changes You Can Make To This Salad:

  • Swap out the blue cheese for feta cheese
  • Add roasted chicken instead of bacon
  • Use balsamic vinegar instead of ranch dressing

4. Caeser Salad

Although this salad looks complicated (and let’s be honest, a little bit intimidating), it’s actually quite simple to make.

The key is in the dressing – a good Caeser dressing is creamy, slightly acidic, and packed with flavor.

This salad is awesome because it hits all the right notes: the lettuce is crisp, the croutons are crunchy, and the Parmesan adds a nice salty bite.

Pro Tip: To take this salad up a notch, try grilling or roasting your chicken before adding it on top.

3 Changes You Can Make to This Salad:

  • Use grilled or roasted chicken instead of boiled or poached chicken.
  • Add in some crispy bacon bits.
  • Use a different type of cheese, like Asiago or Pecorino Romano.

5. Waldorf Salad

You HAVE to try this salad with your pesto pasta dish. I am not kidding, it is life-changing.

The sweetness of the grapes, the creaminess of the avocado, and the crunch of the celery and walnuts come together in perfect harmony.

Plus, it’s so easy to make!

Pro Tip: If you want a little extra flavor and creaminess, add some goat cheese to the salad.

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  • Swap out grapes for cherries
  • Add grilled chicken
  • Use pecans instead of walnuts

6. Thai Chicken Larb Salad

How about something Thai-inspired alongside your pesto pasta recipe?

This salad is light, but filling and full of incredible flavor.

I love the freshness of the lime juice and cilantro, and the addition of rice makes it a meal on its own.

Pro Tip: If you can’t find Thai chili peppers, any other type of chili pepper will work just fine.

3 Changes You Can Make:

  • Add some chopped peanuts for extra crunch
  • Swap out the chicken for shrimp or tofu
  • Make it a wrap by adding some lettuce leaves

7. Tabbouleh Salad

Why not try serving this salad with your pasta meal?

Tabbouleh is a Levantine vegetarian dish traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

It’s fresh, flavorful, and filling – perfect for a summer meal.

Pro Tip: If you want to add some protein to this dish, try adding cooked chickpeas or crumbled feta cheese.

3 Changes You Can Make To This Salad:

  • Swap out the bulgur for quinoa or rice for a gluten-free option.
  • Add in some chopped cucumber or zucchini for extra crunch.
  • Use fresh herbs like basil or cilantro in place of the mint.

8. Russian Olivier Salad

This salad goes well with pesto pasta, chicken, or on its own as a light meal.

It’s healthy, filling, and can be made ahead of time.

Pro Tip: If you’re short on time, you can use jarred pesto instead of making your own.

3 Changes You Can Make to This Salad:

  • Swap out the penne for another pasta shape like fusilli or shells.
  • Use a different type of cheese like mozzarella or cheddar.
  • Add in some diced avocado for extra creaminess and healthy fats.

9. Greek Salad

Tasty, nutritious, and easy to make, this Greek salad is a winner in my book.

I love that it has so many different textures and flavors going on – from the creamy feta cheese to the crunchy cucumbers to the juicy tomatoes.

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Plus, it’s packed with healthy ingredients like olives, herbs, and olive oil.

Pro Tip: To save time, you can use pre-chopped vegetables. Just look for a mix of diced cucumber, onion, and tomato at your local grocery store.

3 Changes You Can Make:

  • Add grilled chicken or shrimp for some extra protein.
  • Swap out the feta cheese for goat cheese or blue cheese.
  • Use white balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar.

10. Asian Slaw

Asian flavors are just so darn good, and this salad is no different.

The perfect balance of salty, sweet, and sour, this dish will leave you wanting more and more.

I love to add a little bit of heat with some crushed red pepper flakes, but if you’re not a fan of spice you can leave them out.

Pro Tip: If you want your salad to have more of a crunch, add in some chopped peanuts or cashews.

3 Changes You Can Make:

  • Swap out the cabbage for kale or spinach
  • Add in some grilled chicken or shrimp
  • Use rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar


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what kind of salad goes with pesto pasta

What Salad Goes With Pesto Pasta? 10 Best Salads

If you're not entirely sure what salad to pair with your pesto pasta dish, never fear!
This article provides 10 great options that will complement your meal perfectly.
From traditional Caesar salad to something a little more unique like watermelon and feta, there's bound to be a salad on this list that you'll love.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 9 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 400 kcal


  • Salad Caprese
  • Nicoise Salad
  • Cobb Salad
  • Caeser Salad
  • Waldorf Salad
  • Thai Chicken Larb Salad
  • Tabbouleh Salad
  • Russian Olivier Salad
  • Greek Salad
  • Asian Slaw


  • Choose any salad from this post to serve with your pasta dish.
  • Prepare the ingredients according to the recipe.
  • Enjoy in no time!
Keyword What Salad Goes With Pesto Pasta, What Salad to serve With Pesto Pasta