Olive Pesto Pasta with Breadcrumbs

Hello! You've landed on an older recipe. Sometimes the older recipes aren't written as clearly as they should be or something might need to be clarified. If something seems confusing or a question arises, send me an email and I'll help!

Close-up photo of a grey-speckled bowl with pasta, olive pesto, breadcrumbs, and topped with shredded basil.

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!

The Olives

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!)

The Pesto

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.

Two bowls of pasta on a dark green background.

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.

Print Pin Rate

Olive Pesto Pasta

3 to 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
  • 8 ounces dried store bought or homemade pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Olive Pesto
  • 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
  1. Prepare pasta according to directions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water, and place pasta in a bowl or return to pot.
  2. 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.
  3. Add to pasta and toss, adding a splash or two of pasta water until the pasta is coated.
  4. 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.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time :10 minutes

Close-up, side angle photograph of long pasta in an olive sauce and topped with basil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

11 comments on “Olive Pesto Pasta with Breadcrumbs”

  1. 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! 🙂

  2. How lovely! I'll have to make this soon, just leaving out a small portion of olive-free pasta for the toddler.

  3. 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.

  4. These look so incredible! Can’t wait to make this! Thanks for sharing.


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

Do away with ads, get access to the back issues of casual, be the first to know about upcoming events, and more.
become a member

beans. beans. beans.

Have a nerdy food question, need a recipe recommendation, or just want to share something exciting you've made?
magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram