pesto pasta bows on a white plate

Simple pesto pasta they’ll love & want again and again

Pesto Pasta

If there is one thing in our house made on repeat and at least once a week, it is pasta! We do make our own pasta when time permits, but having a jar of dried pasta in the pantry makes for a quick, tasty and easy meal. There are a few recipes which are used frequently, but pesto pasta is usually the go to when hunger strikes suddenly!

You can use any type of pasta for this, spirals, penne, shells, even tagliatelle or spaghetti work too. Pesto is a personal preference, there are ready made jars or fresh red, green and dairy free pesto, or of course, the choice to make your own.

pesto penne with garlic bread
Pesto pasta with quorn fillets and garlic bread.
Photo by Nerfee Mirandilla on Unsplash.

The Pesto Pasta Recipe

The main ingredients you need are pasta (water to cook it) and pesto. Other optional ingredients include milk, soft cheese or cheese spread, black pepper and a handful of lightly cooked veg such as broccoli, peas or mange tout. If pesto is not your thing, try a spaghetti carbonara or a spaghetti bolognese instead. If pasta is not your thing, why not try pesto with zoodles (or courgetti).

Pesto Pasta

Quick and easy pasta recipe.

Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dairy free, pasta, pesto, quick meals, teenager meals
Created by:: Laurena @LifeDietHealth
  • Pasta (personal preference in type & amount)
  • *dash of salt if required
  • 1-2 teaspoons Pesto per portion (personal preference, taste as you go)
  • splash of milk (of choice)
  • sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
  • *teaspoon of nutritional yeast (per portion)
  • *tablespoon of soft cheese/cheese spread
  • *handful of grated cheese (of choice)
  • *handful of pre-cooked veg (broccoli, beans, peas, mushrooms, onions, mange tout)
  1. Boil a pan full of water, then add your pasta. Allow 75g-100g dry pasta per person and cook in plenty of water. Add a dash of salt if you normally do. Cook as per packet instructions.

  2. When the pasta is still 'al-dente' (still has a bit of bite), drain the water and return the pan to the heat. Stir the pesto through and add a splash of milk and sprinkle of black pepper.

  3. Add any of the other (*) ingredients, stir through and have a sneaky taste, adjust pepper, salt, pesto, cheese as necessary.

  4. Serve immediately as it is or sprinkle with grated cheese and more black pepper.

  5. Enjoy!

What do I need?

You can (as with most of my recipes), make this dish more complicated if you wish! I have created this recipe to be quick and easy, whilst providing maximum taste.

If you are new to cooking or your kitchen needs a refresh, here are a few useful things for this recipe. I receive a small commission if you click and purchase through these links (this is at no additional cost to you)!


Serve this pasta as it is or add garlic bread, a side salad, some tofu or quorn, or extra vegetables. You can make this dish then add extras to customise it for your family (extra cheese, chicken etc).

pesto pasta bows on a white plate
Pesto pasta bows with rocket and garden tomatoes.
Photo by eaters collective on Unsplash


Once cooled if you have any leftovers, this will store covered in the fridge for up to three days. You could also freeze it if you wished, but it’s so quick and easy to prepare I would suggest making it fresh when needed! If freezing, portion it up, label and date, then use within 3 months.

dish of pesta pasta bows
Pesto pasta with added broccoli, beans, mushrooms and garlic.
Photo by Vicky Ng on Unsplash.


I really hope you try this simple pesto pasta and I’d love to know what you’re adding to, or serving yours with? I love seeing your adaptions and interpretations of my recipes and I’d love to see your photos of this pasta! Do you have a recipe suggestion for me? What shall I create next?

Please share and tag me @LifeDietHealth or using #LifeDietHealth on InstagramPinterest,  Facebook or Twitter.

Leave me a comment below… I love to chat!

I hope to speak with you soon

Laurena x

pesto spaghetti on a white plate
Pesto spaghetti with tofu, grated cheese and fresh basil.
Photo by Victoria Aleksandrova on Unsplash


  • tulips79 14th October 2021 at 17:27

    Hi Laurena, I can safely say we have this on repeat too! I don’t make my own pasta (are you surprised? 🤣) Even my Italian in-laws don’t lol. I do, however, make my own pesto- it started a few years ago when I was fully vegan and couldn’t find any non-vegan ones (in my part of Spain at least) and didn’t much like the shop-bought ones anyway. Mine tends to be basil of course (but I do sometimes use parsley), walnuts or almonds if I’m not using pine nuts, lots of olive oil and lemon as I like it tangy (no surprise there!). I like lots of freshly cracked pepper too. Fave pasta pairings are farfalle bows or penne/rigatoni🙂

    • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 14th October 2021 at 18:02

      Eva it’s such a great option to have! I love that you make your own pesto, do you grow the basil? Basil is one thing I find difficult to keep alive! Have you tried carrot top pesto? I’m with you on the cracked black pepper… I have it on everything savoury except marmite lol (maybe I should try that)!

      • tulips79 14th October 2021 at 19:42

        I add freshly cracked pepper to Marmite as well as jam, not kidding 😋 I just buy basil pots from the supermarket lol. I must be doing something right as my last one lasted all summer… Saying that though, I did throw it out recently as I noticed the soil had fluffy white bits on it (I’m guessing too much water?) Next time I find carrot tops I shall try that, thanks👍

        • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 14th October 2021 at 20:20

          Oh… I’m currently having chilli marmite so maybe I’ll go back to normal marmite and add pepper. Maybe if I put pepper on jam I might like the jam😂Jam not my thing, but I do put black pepper on strawberries!

          • tulips79 14th October 2021 at 22:01

            Ever since I found out about eating strawberries with black pepper and balsamic vinegar, I’ve been rather partial to eating soft fruit that way☺️

          • Laurena@LifeDietHealth 14th October 2021 at 22:03

            I’ve still got strawberries growing in the garden!

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