Paneer Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

This Paneer Pesto Pasta combines sweet cherry tomatoes with homemade pesto and paneer for a comforting and flavor packed vegetarian meal.
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This summer vegetarian pasta combines my homemade pesto with cherry tomatoes and paneer! Packed with lots of fresh flavors, this paneer pesto pasta makes the perfect meal for date nights or special occasions. Serve with a side of crusty bread.

bowl of spaghetti tossed with pesto and paneer, garnished with basil

Paneer is such a versatile ingredient. You can add it to anything and everything, right from curries to lasagna, pizza and even your pasta. Have you ever done that? Added paneer to your pasta?

It not only adds flavor and taste but also adds protein to your pasta making it more filling and wholesome. Sometime, when I have no time to make dinner, I just use a bottle of jarred pasta sauce, mix it with any pasta that I have in my pantry. And to make it more filling, I pan fry some paneer and add it to my pasta along with whatever veggies I have in my refrigerator. It’s simple but makes for a good and filling meal.

The other day when I made some fresh pesto, I thought of making this paneer pesto pasta. We have such beautiful cherry tomatoes in the market these days, they are so sweet and bursting with flavors and so combining paneer, tomatoes with fresh pesto seemed like a good idea. It actually turned out pretty good!

For this recipe, we start with spaghetti and then toss it with pan fried paneer, homemade pesto and cherry tomatoes. It makes a perfect meal for summer. In fact, it would also make a great meal for date nights or special occasions.

Ingredients

This recipe of paneer pesto pasta is super easy to put together, especially if you already have a bottle of pesto ready to be used.

ingredients for paneer pesto pasta arranged on a board

Pasta: I like using spaghetti in this recipe, but you can make this recipe with any other pasta shape that you like. Also, I have used whole wheat spaghetti here but regular plain will work just as well. Or even gluten-free pasta would work.

Pesto: you can use either homemade or store-bought pesto. Store bought pesto are usually not my favorite but if you have a brand you like, go for it. My homemade pesto was pretty thick, if your store-bought jar pesto has a liquid consistency, you might need to use less pesto in the recipe.

Cherry tomatoes: I would highly recommend using in season cherry tomatoes for this recipe. They are sweet and add a lot of flavors to this recipe. If you don’t have or can’t find cherry tomatoes, you can use sun-dried tomatoes in place. They will go well in this recipe.

Seasonings: the paneer is flavored with little bit of paprika and there’s also some Italian seasoning in the pasta. But the main flavor of this pasta comes from the pesto.

Step by Step Instructions

1- Start by boiling 12 oz. spaghetti according to instructions on the package. I have used whole wheat spaghetti here. Reserve around 1 cup of the pasta water, drain the rest and set aside.

2- To a small bowl, add 200 grams of cubed paneer. To that now add:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix everything until combined. Set this aside.

3- Heat a wide heavy bottom pan on low heat. Once hot, add 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive to it. Once the oil is relatively hot, add the sliced garlic (from 5 to 6 large garlic cloves) to it. Cook the garlic for around 3 minutes, stirring often until the oil is well infused with garlic flavor. Keep the flame low, as we don’t want to brown the garlic.

Then add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (depending on taste) and stir.

4- Now, add the prepared paneer to the pan. Cook with the paneer for 3 to 4 minutes until it gets little brown from both sides (flip the paneer once in between).

step by step picture collage of making paneer pesto pasta

5- Then add the cherry tomatoes halves along with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and salt (to taste). Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes stirring often.

6- Add 3/4 cup pesto. I used my homemade vegan pesto here.

7- Add 1/2 cup reserve pasta water here. Mix everything together. Taste test and adjust the seasonings at the point. To make the pasta creamier, consider adding some heavy cream at this point. I did not add any.

8- Toss in the boiled spaghetti. Using a pair of tongs mix the pasta well with the sauce and rest of the ingredients. You can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top before serving. Serve warm!

step by step picture collage of making paneer pesto pasta

Serving Suggestions

I like to take out some of the fried paneer from the pan before adding the tomatoes and use that paneer for garnishing. You can also garnish with some fresh basil.

Sprinkle some parmesan cheese or crushed chili flakes on top before serving.

And serving with a side of cheesy garlic bread is always a good idea.

bowl of spaghetti tossed with pesto with a fork placed on the side of the bowl

Vegan Variation

If you wish to make this pasta vegan, replace the paneer with extra-firm tofu. Rest of the recipe will remain same. Also make sure to use vegan pesto, I have used my homemade vegan pesto here.

Tips & Notes

  • You can use any pasta of choice here. Penne will be my second choice. I have used whole wheat spaghetti here but you can use regular flour pasta or even gluten-free pasta.
  • To make it even more filling, you can add veggies like broccoli, peppers, onions to this pasta. Steam some broccoli and add it to the pasta.
  • If you want to make this creamier and richer, add some heavy cream to the pan along with the pesto. The creamy pesto sauce will taste really good here.
  • You can even add some cheese to this pasta for extra flavor and creaminess. Also serve it with some freshly grated parmesan.
  • You can add more of the reserved pasta water if the pasta appears too dry for your liking.

More Paneer Recipes To Try

Paneer Lasagna: this is my absolute favorite vegetarian lasagna, it combines Indian flavors with creamy tomato sauce and paneer. You have to try this one!

Paneer Tikka Naan Pizza: if you are looking for a quick weeknight meal, then give this naan pizza a try. Comes together in a jiffy and is so flavorful.

Paneer Nachos: a party favorite, I love serving these nachos for game days or for Diwali parties.

Whipped Paneer Dip: another party favorite! Serve this with crackers or pita chips and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser.

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Paneer Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

bowl of spaghetti tossed with pesto and paneer, garnished with basil
Manali
This Paneer Pesto Pasta combines sweet cherry tomatoes with homemade pesto and paneer for a comforting and flavor packed vegetarian meal.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Italian
Servings 5
Calories 587 kcal

Ingredients

For marinating paneer

  • 200 grams paneer
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the pasta

  • 12 oz spaghetti whole wheat
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 20 cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup pesto homemade or store bought
  • 1/2 cup water or more as needed

Instructions
 

  • Start by boiling spaghetti according to instructions on the package. Reserve around 1 cup of the pasta water, drain the rest and set aside.
  • To a small bowl, add 200 grams of cubed paneer. To that now add: 1 teaspoon olive oil,1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix everything until combined. Set this aside.
  • Heat a wide heavy bottom pan on low heat. Once hot, add 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive to it. Once the oil is relatively hot, add the sliced garlic to it. Cook the garlic for around 3 minutes, stirring often until the oil is well infused with garlic flavor. Keep the flame low, as we don't want to brown the garlic.
  • Then add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes and stir. Now, add the prepared paneer to the pan. Cook with the paneer for 3 to 4 minutes until it gets little brown from both sides (flip the paneer once in between).
  • Then add the cherry tomatoes halves along with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and salt (to taste). Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes stirring often.
  • Add 3/4 cup pesto along with 1/2 cup of that reserved pasta water. Mix everything together. Taste test and adjust the seasonings at the point.
  • Toss in the boiled spaghetti. Using a pair of tongs mix the pasta well with the sauce and rest of the ingredients. You can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top before serving. Serve warm!

Notes

  • You can use any pasta of choice here. Penne will be my second choice. I have used whole wheat spaghetti here but you can use regular flour pasta or even gluten-free pasta.
  • To make it even more filling, you can add veggies like broccoli, peppers, onions to this pasta. Steam some broccoli and add it to the pasta.
  • If you want to make this creamier and richer, add some heavy cream to the pan along with the pesto. The creamy pesto sauce will taste really good here.
  • You can even add some cheese to this pasta for extra flavor and creaminess. Also serve it with some freshly grated parmesan.
  • You can add more of the reserved pasta water if the pasta appears too dry for your liking.

Nutrition

Calories: 587kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 17gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 489mgPotassium: 324mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1170IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 288mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

3 thoughts on “Paneer Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

  1. 5 stars
    Congratulations Manali.
    This recipe is not only delicious but also beautiful. Super easy to do. I really liked the pesto pasta. Thank you.

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