Olive Pesto Pasta

The month of December always feels overly full. Between preparing for the holidays, closing out the year, and the normal work load, food falls by the wayside. On top of that, the cookies and sweets are everywhere. While pasta isn’t the healthiest, it’s quick and makes this meal easy to get to the table in 15 minutes. If you’re looking for a slightly more healthy option without pasta, skip down to the variations.

Olive Pesto Pasta

Olive Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4


  • 8 ounces store bough or homemade pasta
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil
  • ½ cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond slices
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs


  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, tomes, lemon juice, olive oil, and almonds. Continue to until pesto is well combined. Add to pasta and toss, adding a splash or two of pasta water until the pasta is coated.
  3. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast breadcrumbs until lightly browning. Sprinkle on top of pasta and serve.


+ 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.


Variations for the Pesto Pasta

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.

California Olive Ranch Olives | Naturally Ella

Featured Ingredient: Olives

Olives are one of my favorite items to have on hand at all times. They make a perfect addition to salads and pizza, can be a salty snack, and as in this recipe, be tossed into a pesto.

Pita: Stuffed Pita with Arugula and Olive Tapenade
Pasta: Cauliflower Pasta with Za’atar and Olives
Side: Roasted Cauliflower with Figs and Olives