Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. Thanks for supporting brands that align with my values and help make TFD possible. I was compensated for my time but as always, all opinions are my own!

Look no further for a delicious healthier pasta salad – this caprese pasta salad with hemp pesto is packed with fiber, protein and omega-3s! Look no further for a delicious healthier pasta salad - this caprese pasta salad with hemp pesto is packed with fiber, protein and omega-3s! | karalydon.comWho doesn’t love a summer barbecue?

It’s finally time to open up the grill, the pool, and invite your family and friends over for some summertime eating, drinking, and be merrying.

Barbecue foods can get a bad rep though, especially when you think about greasy burgers, dogs made with who knows what fillers, and mayonnaise saturated potato and pasta salads. But barbecues don’t have to be that way! No one says you have to serve up these high calorie, processed foods. In fact, your guests will probably thank you if you make simple healthy swaps to your barbecue menu.

Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad | karalydon.com

Here are some simple barbecue swaps to try this summer to keep your taste buds and waistlines satisfied:

Beef burgers –> salmon or veggie burgers

Coleslaw –> try yogurt or cottage cheese ‘stead of mayo

Icebox Cake –> use Greek yogurt instead of whipped cream

White pasta salad –> use whole-wheat pasta

Potato salad –> swap yogurt for mayo

Peach cobbler –> Grilled peaches

If you’re ready to make a healthier side for your next summer party, start with this caprese pasta salad with hemp pesto. It’s made with fiber-packed whole-wheat pasta for extra staying power, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and omega-3-packed hemp pesto. Don’t be intimidated by hemp pesto – it’s as easy to make as any other pesto. I simply substituted hemp seeds for pine nuts and hemp oil for olive oil, making it a more nutritious pesto that’s packed with more fiber, protein, and omega-3s.

Pasta Salad on a white plate

I also decided to make this pasta salad caprese-style because I can’t get enough of caprese salads in the summer when tomatoes are at their peak harvest. Plus, it totally beats the pasta salads I grew up with made with meat, cheese, and store-bought Italian dressing.

Enjoy these easy barbecue swaps and this simple recipe alllllllll summer longgggg.

Caprese Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad

P.S. I have a bunch of go-to vegetarian pasta salad recipes that you’ll love!


Caprese Pasta Salad with Hemp Pesto

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  • Yield: 10 -12 servings 1x


  • 16 oz whole-wheat fusilli pasta
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ¼ cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts
  • ½ tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (quartered)
  • 8 oz ciliegine (cherry sized-mozzarella balls, quartered)


  1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for 12-13 minutes or until desired texture. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. In a food processor, add basil, hemp oil, Parmesan cheese, hemp seeds, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
  3. In a large serving bowl, toss pasta with pesto, tomatoes and mozzarella cheese until pesto evenly coats the pasta. Serve at room temperature.

You May Also

Tell me, have you ever tried hemp pesto? What’s your favorite healthier pasta salad? Check out more of my summer salad recipes below:

Creamy Cottage Cheese Coleslaw

Smoky Corn and Pepper Salad

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  1. OK if it has caprese and pasta in the title I’m making it and intrigued to try hemp seeds more often. Love the idea of trying them in a pesto!

  2. This pasta looks so satisfying and tasty. Love your “swaps” for BBQ season, too! : )

  3. I’m a huge fan of pasta salad, especially when they are actually healthy! This looks beautiful!

  4. I’ve made pesto a million ways (I think I have 3 recipes on my blog) but never with hemp seeds- must try it!