One of my favorite things about my book club is how we rotate houses each month. I love — like, love — getting to spend time in my friends’ homes!
I love getting to have a context for where they spend their days and nights. I love getting to check out their decorating styles, and hear the stories behind old photos, and take in all of the thousand little details they choose to make a house a home. I love getting to say hey to husbands and roommates, and snuggle with cute pups and cats. I love squeezing our big book club into small living rooms, and cozying up in the little nooks where my friends probably read our books. And of course, I love all of the home-cooked food we get to enjoy in these homes.
That’s right, no restaurant meet-ups for our club. We dig random smorgasbords enjoyed in the comfort of one another’s living room, sometimes featuring lots of homemade dishes, often featuring more last-minute-Trader-Joe’s-appetizer runs, usually with plenty of wine to go around, and always with good friends and good bookish conversations a-plenty.
My contribution last month? This stellar 5-ingredient pasta salad.
Our book club house of the month for April was my friend Kerry’s, which happens to be about 45 minutes outside of town in Lawrence, KS. So I knew that anything I made would need to survive a nice little car ride, as well as our little hipster soda shop visit beforehand, where we created our own six-packs with some of the 1000 (1000!) kinds of retro and modern sodas they had on hand. (I went a little crazy in the ginger beer section!)
Still, I was craving something fresh and spring-y, and had a bunch of arugula in the fridge. So I decided to dig into my DeLallo drawer (yes, I have an entire drawer in my kitchen full of DeLallo products) and try out this 5-ingredient idea on my friends.
The ingredients were super simple:
whole wheat pasta (DeLallo’s is the only kind I love — the BEST!)
fresh arugula (my favorite green, which provides great flavor in pasta salads)
fresh mozzarella (you could also use shredded cheese)
Now, I have to say one quick word about this pesto. I’ve admittedly been pretty anti-jarred-pesto for years, especially when it comes to basil pesto. More often that not, it seems like the stuff you buy at the store is lacking in flavor, color and freshness. Sure, it can work if you’re in a bind, but I always found it to be more than a little “meh”.
Once again, this brand has made a believer out of me. First it was with whole wheat pasta. Now, jarred pesto. Theirs is seriously good. Not I’m-in-a-bind-and-it’s-passable-good. Like, I-would-willingly-buy-and-use-it-often-good. And brag-to-everyone-at-book-club-that-can-you-believe-this-pesto-is-from-a-jar??-GOOD.
In a nutshell, it is the closest thing I’ve found to tasting like fresh pasta. It’s green. It’s packed with flavor. And that flavor tastes really fresh — perfectly basil-y, cheesy, and nutty. I was also interested to learn that it’s made with a mixture of pine nuts and cashews, which I really loved. But bottom line, it’s just really yummy.
So long story short, I knew the pesto would hold its own and make this 5-ingredient recipe taste like 5 million bucks.
And no surprise, it did.
The pasta was delicious and chewy. Those sweet roasted reds were amazing (and a fun twist instead of tomatoes!). The arugula was perfectly peppery and pretty. The cheese was cheesy. And man, the whole thing was just tasty.
In a book club where we take group polls on books with thumb votes, my friends gave it a definite two (or twenty!) thumbs up. And I was a fan because it took an entire five minutes to prepare.
Definitely good food for a good night, with a good book, in a good home, with good friends. Just how I like it.
Cook pasta in a large stockpot of generously-salted boiling water al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta and rinse under cold water for about 20-30 seconds until no longer hot.
In a large serving bowl, toss pasta with the remaining ingredients until combined. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
This is a sponsored post from DeLallo. I am partnering with them this year to bring you some yummy Italian recipes using my favorite products of theirs, but all opinions are 100% my own as always. I’m just a mega-fan of this brand, so I’m excited to share about them with you. Thanks for supporting brands like theirs who help make this blog possible.
I have to admit I am not a big fan of pasta salads.. but this one looks definitely worth trying!
You have hit all my fav flavors here! Mozza, pesto and CARBS! I love that they are whole wheat too! Pinning and face planting!
Totally need this in my life. It’s perfect for a packed lunch!
I love that this recipe actually contains some greens! Most pasta salads I’ve seen are just pasta!
Only 5 ingredients?
Only 5 minutes to make? win win!
I mean, this is a winner. Seems like something I’d bring to a Memorial Day party if those exist!
I love this line: “This brand has made a believer out of me.” So true!! Whenever my friends are skeptical about whole wheat pasta I tell them to buy DeLallo. :) Love that you have your parties at houses – so much more fun that way.
Best use of 5 ingredients I have seen in a while! Looks awesome!
I love everything about this salad, from the simple ingredients to the flavors you picked. I hunker for those peppers! Eat em straight from the jar, and on everything!
I adore DeLallo! And this pasta salad is perfect for this warming weather creeping up! So pretty!
Can I come and join your book club? I would like to have a nosy peek into those cosy homes, too … and have some of this lovely salad! It’s beautiful and sounds so fresh and easy to make. I love your colourful photos, too. :-)
This pasta salad looks SO good. I love to make my own basil pesto. I does however take a LOT of basil, therefore, making it “seasonal” in Kansas. I can’t wait to try the DeLallo. Where do you buy it? I’m guessing from some of your comments, maybe Trader Joes??? Thanks for the recipe!
Oooh, good question. I’ll go back and mention that. You can find DeLallo at Whole Foods, as well as other local grocery stores. Or if it’s not available at either of those, you can also order from them directly online. Worth the search! :)
Thanks! Unfortunately, no Whole Foods in Topeka. It is always a fun stop when in KC. Now I have more reason to make a trip over. :)
We love DeLallo, they are awesome. It was so good seeing you this weekend!! xoxo
This recipe makes me die for summer. It is perfect to bring to a BBQ! I just love the way you photographed it.
yum! this looks so fresh and crisp, I’m totally sold!
I love all of those things about our book club too! The location, our awesome smorgasboard of food randomness, always magically more than enough wine, and the best people! I also LOVED this salad!
Yum!! This looks great! Your book club sounds like so much fun, I have been looking for something like that in my area and I haven’t come across anything. Maybe I should just start one!
This salad is the ultimate dish for spring!
I made this pasta salad for a birthday party yesterday. I substituted goat’s cheese for the mozzarella and love how it came out. I will definitely be making it again! Thanks for sharing :)
This looks really tasty. We make pasta salad for school lunch. As you said, not a lot of work and lasts for several days. Definitely going to try this one. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Ali! I absolutely love your blog and all the recipes I have tried have been amazing! I really enjoy your food photography too. We tried this 5-ingredient pasta salad and loved it! Thanks so much for all the great ideas and recipes.
Here’s the link to our blog post on this recipe, in case you wanted to take a look :)
I love book club! Mostly for the food. :) This pasta salad looks right up my alley. :)
Where do you find whole wheat pasta? Is that the same as wholemeal?
You should be able to find it at most grocery stores, possibly in the health food section if it’s not with the regular pasta. Or if not, you can order it online (and DeLallo — my favorite brand — sells theirs online too). Enjoy!
I made this with high expectations but it was just blah. It wasn’t amazing and it wasn’t the worst, just mediocre at best. I’m removing the pin from my pinterest board.
I tried this today. It taste like it’s missing something so I have added black pepper and red onions to lift it up better but overall it’s a great recipe
Looks delicious… will try it out soon!
Thank you, we hope you enjoy!
I made this for a potluck picnic tonight. In spite of the fact there were at least 30 other dishes there, this pasta salad completely disappeared, and quickly. My ridiculously picky husband mostly avoids leafy greens, but he actually ate all the arugula in this. He even said he would eat it again. Thanks!
Christy, that’s so great to hear, than you for sharing! We’re glad you (and especially your husband) enjoyed it so much! :)
added sliced olives. Delish!
Nice! We’re glad you liked it Crystal!
What is the calorie content for this recipe??
Hi Ashley! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!
Hi! I’m excited to try out this recipe this week at some point for dinner. What main dish do you think would go well with this?
Hi Emily, we think some grilled chicken would be really yummy (either added to this), or on the side! We hope you enjoy! :)
I saved this recipe for later use and I am making it tonight!! Reading deeper into the article, I saw you mentioned Lawrence, KS. I live in Lawrence!! Super exciting :)
Very cool Lexie! We hope you enjoy this! :D
Had anyone tried to sub spinach for the arugula? Wondering if that would work just as well!
Hey there! You could completely sub spinach for the arugula — we hope you enjoy this! :)
Hey! I made this tonight and I used spinach I also roasted my own peppers with molasses and cumin spice. It was really good! My bf doesn’t like salads but he had some and also had seconds!
We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Zara!
Looks great! Do you think I could just use Spring Mix as opposed to just the arugula? I’m not sure if I could find plain arugula–without a trip to Pittsburgh involved! I can’t wait to try it!
Thanks Janet — we hope you enjoy! And yes, you should be able to use spring mix instead of arugula, though we’d recommend spinach first, if you can use that instead.
Easy…and delicious!! Made for a birthday gathering and will make again. My husband kept returning to the dish!!
Thanks Marian — we’re so happy it was a hit! :)
I wanted so much to like this recipe – the ingredients sounded delicious and the pictures had me drooling – but when I made this myself (using all of the brands mentioned) I was underwhelmed. Both my husband and I agreed that the salad seemed like it was missing something and needed more zip. Anyone have any tips for something else we could add to improve the taste?
Hi Megan! We’re sorry to hear you guys found this a little bland. We think if you added a little more pesto, and/or some fresh lemon juice (and maybe even a little zest), it would really liven things up! We hope that helps!
I’ve never used the advertised brand of pesto because I make my own. But if the bottled product is not as strong as you like, that may be the problem.
Well first I have to say that I did leave the mozzarella ball at the store so that sucked…I added grated parmesan to substitute. However, I could still tell this is just a meh recipe. It’s edible for sure but definitely just a base. I added lots of pepper and red pepper flakes to my bowl for more flavor but really this is just lacking. I’d see it needs more ingredients…grape/cherry tomatoes, maybe olives, maybe more pesto or spices. It’s definitely edible but way too basic to serve. As a basic side dish with a lot of other options, I’d say it’s great for that scenario though.
We appreciate your feedback and are sorry to hear you found this bland. Definitely feel free to add anything you’d like to it next time!
I’m trying this tonight. It’s 101 today in NE Oklahoma with a heat index of 112. Too hot to cook, but I think I can manage cooking some noodles. I’m going to add Kalamanta olives, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Perhaps some rotisserie chicken. Looks amazing and can’t wait to try it. Thanks!
Oh my goodness, we feel your pain — that’s way too hot! We hope this pasta salad keeps you cool and that you enjoy it (also, we think rotisserie chicken would be a great addition)! :)
I made this today for lunch and it’s definitely going to be coming with us to the beach!
I needed something easy to make for lunch today, but it gets better when it sits overnight!
What book were you gals reading at your book club?
I just finished The Nest and I highly recommend! I couldn’t put it down :)
Will the arugula get soggy if stored with all other ingredients for the 3 days?
This pasta salad looks incredible. I tried something which looks very similar at a ‘fuddle” at work and haven’t got it out of my head!
I will definitely be trying this in the hope it tastes just as amazing.
Thank you for sharing!
Thank you, Mary, we hope you enjoy it!
Have you tried Classico pesto sauce? One thing about it that struck me as missing in my home made recipe was lemon juice, which you mentioned for those who found the recipe bland. Now I always add lemon; it helps with storage as well.
Arugula is also my favourite green. I live in Windsor, Ontario, and used to work in Detroit – right across the river. (Windsor is sometimes called south Detroit.) When I shopped over there I could find fresh bunches of arugula. In Windsor it is only recently that I could find baby arugula, which is good but expensive. I have now found an ethnic grocery that has bunches so I am in my glory.
If your arugula is a little past prime, add it to pasta immediately after draining so it wilts and blends in. You still get the nutrients.
We haven’t, but it sounds great! :)
For those of us who are cooking challenged – how much is “a ball of mozzerella cheese”?
Hi Lisa! They’re typically 8 ounces. :)
Made this for myself and my parents tonight and we all loved it!! Beyond excited to have leftovers all week long :) Thanks for the great recipe! (check out my pic of it on Insta @avocadohmy)
We’re so happy to hear it was a hit! :)
I made it today :) delicious!! I did not use a whole pound of pasta, also added shredded Parmesan and substituted cherry tomatoes for the roasted peppers (since that’s what I had in my garden). Thank you!!
We’re so happy to hear you liked this, Dharyn, and that’s awesome that you were able to use some tomatoes from your garden — yummy! :)
This recipe is easy and delicious! I was slightly skeptical about the arugula (I prefer spinach), but I absolutely loved this recipe as is!
Thank you, Christina, we’re so glad you enjoyed it!
Was looking for something light for a warm summer night. It was easy and my family really liked it, even my picky nine year old. I agree with you on the pesto choice. I have never liked basil pesto before.
Thanks for sharing, Emily, we’re so happy you and your family enjoyed this!
Made this last night for a baby shower, quick, easy and absolutely delicious. This is a keeper, will be making this a lot as the weather gets warmer! Thank you for posting !
Love these dishes, so fresh, healthy
Good recipe i n my family like your delicious recipe thanks ???
All I can say is Hoooorrraaayyyy!
This was a great salad. Easy to prepare and everyone loved it, especially the vegetarians in the group. I was serving it at a large gathering so it was easily doubled. But the best thing about the salad is that I could make it a few days ahead and kept it in the refrig and when ready to serve, the arugula was added. Great recipe!