As the site ages, I'm attempting to go through and update/retest some of the recipes I believe should have some staying power. These are the recipes I've love. This olive pesto pasta came about as a fluke, a dinner desperation. Ever since then, this pasta has become a staple, primarily for how easy and quick it comes together!
When it comes to olives, I’m buying a small container from the olive bar on a weekly basis. We use olives on pizza, in salads, as a snack, and in pasta dishes, like this olive pesto pasta. It’s a lovely, salty recipe for this time of year.
As you can see in the recipe, I typically reach for kalamata but green/black ones would work just as well. Use what you might already have on hand (or is the easiest for you pick-up!)
I’m using the idea of ‘pesto’ here a bit loosely. It’s as if my base tapenade recipe mixed with a pesto and created this delightful spread. This recipe makes quite a bit so be prepared to use it in a few different ways. Use it as a spread on sandwiches, top a bit of hummus, or add it to a morning omelette.
Pasta for Days
I’m not usually particular about the shape of pasta but when it comes to this olive pesto pasta, I love it with long, thick noodles. Fettuccine or something similar works wonderfully. The olive pesto, with the help of just a splash of pasta water, clings to the noodles. Of course, you can use what you already have on hand- there’s no wrong pasta answer.
Carbs on carbs
Finally, I realize the breadcrumbs on pasta might seem a bit much but I promise- it’s delightful. The crispy, golden breadcrumbs lend just enough texture to make the pasta really shine. You don’t need them but I highly recommend them. You could also use toasted/chopped nuts.
Really the star of this recipe is the pesto. It's a rough variation from an olive tapenade but can function in a similar way. If you want to make a big batch of this pesto, it's great not only on this pasta but also as a spread on sandwiches or pizza.
Pasta: If you're looking to ditch the pasta, try cooked spaghetti squash or if you're a fan of the spiralizer, sweet potato noodles.
Cheese: I like having cheese as an option to add rather than take away. However, this pasta dish is great with a bit of cheese sprinkle on top, like feta.
Olive Pesto Pasta
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 3 to 4 1x
8 ounces dried store bought or homemade pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup packed fresh basil
½ cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley
1 clove garlic
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (see note)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped or sliced almonds
- Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water, and place pasta in a bowl or return to pot.
- While pasta is cooking, pulse the basil, parsley, and garlic in a food processor until minced. Add in the olives, tomatoes, lemon juice, olive oil, and almonds. Continue to until pesto is well combined, adding a bit more olive oil (or pasta water) if needed to pulse everything together.
- Add to pasta and toss, adding a splash or two of pasta water until the pasta is coated.
- In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast breadcrumbs in olive oil until lightly browning. Sprinkle on top of pasta and serve with extra herbs for garnish.
+ I used sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive but you could also use non-oil packed sun-dried tomatoes but you might need to add a splash more olive oil or lemon juice.
Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet says
I love the idea of using an olive pesto in pasta dishes! I bet this would be GREAT on crostini too!
Linda | The Baker Who Kerns says
Love all these variations you have listed! Gives me so many ideas, and I've always been curious about olive pesto and how that taste goes with pasta. Really want to make it!
This pasta looks wonderful! I love the healthfulness and simplicity of it too. It will be a nice break from all of the heavy holiday food this month! 🙂
How lovely! I'll have to make this soon, just leaving out a small portion of olive-free pasta for the toddler.
genevieve @ gratitude & greens says
I ate so much pesto pasta when I was in university. Such a good quick meal!
Love all these variations you have listed. Gives me so many ideas. Yeah I’ll have to make this soon
Velvet and Pasta - Salsa Pesto says
Really great recipe, I've made my own from the genuine Genovese Pesto, but I really love your version, I will try it. Thank you for sharing!!!
After a super busy week, I made this for dinner last night. It not only was delicious but was cooked & ready to eat in 15 mins. Will definitely be making this again.
Really good use of Olives. Did not know that such utilities are also available for Olives.
Miranda Austin says
I came here for 1 recipe and ended up browsing 10 more... The Photos are breath taking!
Edward Parker says
These look so incredible! Can’t wait to make this! Thanks for sharing.