Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad

by on July 19, 2006
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Last weekend I attended yet another potluck dinner. Something about the summer just screams “potluck,” I guess. For this one, I threw together not one but two pesto pasta salads: a regular one made with semolina pasta and olive oil, to share with the crowd, and a fat-free, healthier version made with whole wheat pasta for myself.

I’m going to be honest with you. I tasted both, and the white pasta/olive oil version was better. Part of the blame for that goes to the whole wheat pasta I used in the oil-free version. The quality of whole wheat pasta varies widely from brand to brand, and the brand I used this time tasted like tough, damp cardboard. The pesto sauce itself was good. I used canned artichokes to replace the olive oil and omitted the nuts I normally use, and though I think blending a quarter cup of nuts into the sauce would have made it richer and more flavorful, it was still pretty tasty for such a light pesto. But, for an oil-free pesto that’s really outstanding, I have to recommend either the Asparagus Pesto Pasta Salad that I blogged about last month or my creamy Pesto Pasta Salad that’s based on silken tofu.

Artichoke Pesto Pasta Salad

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kbrandan2004 October 7, 2009 at 11:58 am

I see some of your recipe's with nutritional yeast in them but i've never been able to find it where is the best place to get it and also what would an example of a brand name be?

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2 SusanV October 7, 2009 at 12:08 pm

The most popular brand of nutritional yeast is Red Star. You can find it, usually in the bulk bins, in most natural food stores or places like Whole Foods or Trader Joes. It's also available online, if you can't find it locally.

Mostly, it gives a savory, slightly cheesy flavor to whatever recipe it's in. You may be able to do without it if you increase the other seasonings somewhat.

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3 Benjamin Sabin August 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

This looks AH-MAZING! I’ve recently decided to transition myself into vegan. It wasn’t easy at first, but now if I consume any animal product or by product, I get slightly queezy.
I have used multiple recipes from this website and it has become a daily hit! I plan on going home to make this recipe tonight!
Thank you for the DELICIOUS recipes! Keep doing what you do! It makes a difference!

-Ben :D

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4 Jill September 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Susan: what brand of whole wheat pasta (esp shaped pastas) do you recommend?

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5 SusanV September 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Jill, I use Delallo and love it. It’s in the International Foods section of my grocery store and comes in several different shapes.

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6 Marilyn Stefano October 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Hi Susan:
What a great site – I’m so glad to have found you! Can your Pesto Pasta Salad be made with rice pasta instead of whole wheat, since I hate the texture of the wheat? I’ve been on a vegan program for 4 weeks & I mostly love it. I get food delivered frozen each week, & it’s mostly good, but I look forward to the time when I can make my own when I have time.
Thanks so much, Marilyn

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7 SusanV October 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Thanks, Marilyn! You can use any pasta you like with this. Also, take a look at my Asparagus Pesto and my Eggplant Pesto, which I like even better than this one. You can use the search box at the top right to find them.

Glad you found my site!

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8 Vada July 14, 2011 at 2:42 pm

I made this salad for Independence Day. I doubled the recipe and thought I would have a TON left over (small family). It turned out that everybody loved it and I had the last serving for my dinner the following day. What a great salad! It tasted so fresh. This is one that I will make again and again.

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9 steph snell September 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Oh my yummmmmers! I am so glad forks over knives posted your blog on facebook! I made just this pesto tonight to eat on some cucumbers with a little chopped olives on top.im soooo glad to know pesto can taste like this oil free! I will be following your blog thank you so much for taking the time to post these awesome recipes!!

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10 Julie July 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

I tried this recipe last night, it was warm and I didn’t want to heat up the kitchen too much. I have a good crop of thriving basil in the garden, and always have on hand a can of artichoke hearts. This recipe was quick and easy with few ingredients and there were no leftovers. I will probably double it next time since we love having leftovers for the next day’s lunches. I did sprinkle in a little salt at the end and found it to be too much, next time I won’t use any. Thanks!

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11 Monique July 22, 2012 at 2:32 am

Hi Susan!
I recently used spelt pasta for a alfredo recipe and it was great! The texture is so smooth compared to whole wheat pasta.
Thanks again for your wonderful posts,
Monique

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12 Micki Josi July 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm

That sounds amazing! I’m going to try this next time I get basil in my CSA! YUM!

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13 Aaron Saeteurn November 12, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I got the chance to give this recipe a try, and it turned out that my family and I loved it! Thank you so much for sharing this! :)

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14 moonwatcher July 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Hi Susan,

I like the idea of subbing artichokes for the oil. I’ll have to try this. I think it might be good on cooked potatoes as a kind of pesto potato salad. . . I’ll let you know when I get to this experiment.

Yes, your asparagus pesta pasta salad is outstanding! But I have a feeling this one is not so bad, either. :)

xoxo

moonwatcher

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