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Recipe

November 1, 2023

Easy Christmas Pasta Salad

Toss, Taste, and Celebrate

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Bowl of vegetarian pasta Thanksgiving salad made with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella.

SANTA.COM

Hey there, foodies! Get ready to jazz up your holiday spread with our Christmas Pasta Salad! Packed with festive red and green vibes, it’s like a party on your plate. 

Perfect for Thanksgiving or any holiday bash, this vegetarian pasta delight is not your average salad. It's tasty, colorful, and totally Instagrammable. Plus this pasta salad can easily be made into a gluten-free or vegan salad by substituting the regular pasta and mozzarella cheese.

So, why settle for ordinary when you can savor the extraordinary? Let’s make this holiday season deliciously unforgettable! 

Christmas Pasta Salad

  • Prep time: 15  mins

  • Cook time: 10 mins

  • Total time: 25 mins

  • Servings: 8

Ingredients

Ingredients for Christmas and Thanksgiving Salad made with tomatoes, pasta, and mozzarella.
Ingredients for Christmas and Thanksgiving Salad made with tomatoes, pasta, and mozzarella.
SANTA.COM

Pesto

  • ¼ cup pine nuts

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

  • 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, preferably Genovese

  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving

  • Pinch sea salt

  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

Pasta Salad

  • 8 oz short pasta of choice

  • 8 oz mozzarella pearls, strained 

  • 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes

  • ½ cup pine nuts

  • ½ cup red onion, finely diced

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus more for water

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  2. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare pesto. Using a mortar and pestle, add the pine nuts to the bowl and grind down into a fine paste. Add the garlic, basil and sea salt, and grind down into a paste. Once finely ground, add the cheese and oil and create a thick green paste. 

  3. Prepare the mix-ins. Halve the cherry tomatoes and finely dice the red onion.

  4. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and boil to al dente according to package directions. Strain and rinse the cooked pasta. Add the olive oil and sea salt to the cooked pasta and toss.

  5. Add the pine nuts to a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Tossing occasionally, toast the pine nuts until aromatic and lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.

  6. Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, red onion, and pesto. Toss until well combined and enjoy within 4 days.

Step-By-Step Instructions

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. 

2. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the pesto. Using a mortar and pestle, add the pine nuts to the bowl and grind down into a fine paste. Add the garlic, basil, and sea salt, and grind down into a paste. Once finely ground, add the cheese and oil to create a thick green paste.

Pesto being prepared with a mortar and pestle for Christmas Pasta Salad.
Pesto being prepared with a mortar and pestle for Christmas Pasta Salad.
SANTA.COM

3. Prepare the mix-ins. Halve the cherry tomatoes and finely dice the red onion.

4. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and boil to al dente according to package directions. Strain and rinse the cooked pasta. Add the olive oil and sea salt to the cooked pasta and toss.

Cooked pasta being drained in colander, ready for Christmas Pasta Salad.
Cooked pasta being drained in colander, ready for Christmas Pasta Salad.
SANTA.COM

5. Add the pine nuts to a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Tossing occasionally, toast the pine nuts until aromatic and lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes.

Pine nuts in a small skillet, being toasted for Christmas Pasta Salad.
Pine nuts in a small skillet, being toasted for Christmas Pasta Salad.
SANTA.COM

6. Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, mozzarella pearls, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, red onion, and pesto. 

Remaining ingredients for Christmas Pasta Salad in a bowl.
Remaining ingredients for Christmas Pasta Salad in a bowl.
SANTA.COM

7. Toss until well combined and enjoy within 4 days.

Christmas Vegetarian Pasta Salad in a bowl.
Christmas Vegetarian Pasta Salad in a bowl.
SANTA.COM

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