Have you met my dear friend, Greek yogurt? I swear, trying to remember life before discovering the amazingness that is Greek yogurt is just too sad. I have Greek yogurt upwards of four to five mornings a week for breakfast (in various capacities dressed with honey, preserves, granola, etc…) and then I also accompany some sort of lunch item with Greek yogurt at least three times a week (in place of sour cream for enchiladas, a dollop in cream of red pepper soup, etc…). Greek yogurt has the amazing ability to morph into unique flavors from sweet to savory. A friend once mentioned she used it in pasta salad and I thought that was a great idea!
I picked a lot of basil from the garden (and I must confess, since we’re running a bit low, I also bought some from Trader Joe’s) and rinsed it. Pine nuts were impossible to track down, so I decided to use walnuts in their place. I simply threw the basil into the Cuisinart, added some olive oil, added the walnuts and pulsed until they were all blended. Then I added fresh Parmesan cheese, some salt and pepper and about three tablespoons of Greek yogurt (note: keep the rest of the Greek yogurt to mix with the pasta before adding pesto).
The creamy texture of the Greek yogurt is a perfect addition to pesto and it really boosts the flavor of the basil and walnuts. Once the pasta was cooked and cooled down (tip: run the pasta under cold water to bring down the temperature) I mixed in the remaining Greek yogurt (about three or four tablespoons) from what we didn’t use in the pesto.
Dress the cool pasta with the Greek yogurt and once the noodles are coated, then it’s time to bring in the pesto! Dump it in. All of it. Seriously- you won’t be sorry.
Mix it all in together with a spatula. Add a carton of sliced cherry tomatoes and voila: healthy, delicious and easy as can be pesto pasta salad! The perfect accompaniment to any summer cookout!