Pesto, Sun-dried Tomato, and Toasted Pine Nut Pasta Salad (DF, GF option)

Pesto, Sun-dried Tomato, and Toasted Pine Nut Pasta Salad (DF, GF option)

I don’t know what it is but I have been absolutely loving toasted pine nuts lately. I have been throwing them in salads, in pasta, on avocado toast, etc. I am not sure if its because summer is ending and we are going into fall, because I feel like it is definitely a sumer/fall thing to add pine nuts to dishes, but I have been loving them! Although, they can be very expensive so I suggest either getting a bag of them at Trader Joe’s if you know you are going to use them (A bag I believe is $9.99) or shopping the Bulk Bin section at your local Whole Foods. I love shopping the Bulk Bin section because usually it is cheaper, you only have to get the amount that you need so there is less waste involved, and usually you are allowed to bring your own containers!

I love this pasta salad because it can be served both hot and cold! I had it one night for dinner served hot and I added some Trader Joe’s jalapeno chicken sausage for some extra protein and it was absolutely delicious! I made it for my roommate too and she was obsessed with it. In fact she said “This is literally the best meal I have had in a really long time.” So if that doesn’t tell you how good this dish is, I don’t know what will! You can also serve it cold too- it would be great to bring to somebody’s house as a side dish. You can even omit the chicken sausage, or add any other kind of protein source because without the chicken sausage this recipe is 100% vegan. My friends and I had a potluck dinner the other night, where each person was in charge of bringing a dish. One of my friends has both a gluten and a dairy allergy, so I decided to make this pasta dish for us. I simply swapped out regular pasta for gluten free pasta and it was a gluten and dairy free meal that was both filling and delicious.

I almost always make my homemade vegan pesto, because it is so easy and made with such simple ingredients, but when I want to save time or do not have all the ingredients, I usually buy Trader Joe’s vegan cashew pesto. It is my favorite premade and dairy free pesto that I have found- I feel like it is the freshest and is made with great ingredients (you can actually read all the ingredients unlike a lot of premade stuff). Anyway, I think this is an awesome under 20 minute dinner to whip up for a weeknight dinner that everyone would enjoy!


  • ½ Box of pasta of choice (I suggest changing it up and going with a fun shape!)
  • Huge scoop of pesto (you can adjust this to how much sauce you want on it)
  • Big handful of sundried tomatoes (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • Big Handful of spinach 
  • ⅓ large chopped red onion 
  • Big handful of toasted pine nuts (I toasted them with a little bit of olive oil on low in a pan on the stove)
  • Optional: Trader Joe’s Jalapeno chicken sausage


  1. Cook pasta according to box directions
  2. Drain the pasta and add it back into the pot
  3. Add the pesto, sundried tomatoes, onion, spinach, and pine nuts and stir.
  4. Add cooked protein and serve. For the chicken sausage, I sliced it thin and then added it to my air fryer on 400 for about 10 minutes)