This fresh, veggie-packed farmers’ market pasta salad comes together in less than 30 minutes and is great for feeding a crowd. It is easy to modify into lowfodmaps, vegan or gluten-free varieties as your diet allows.
We host a lot of parties in the summer. Between our combined families there are five birthdays, Fourth of July, and various other random pool parties, bunco gatherings, and dinner parties. Let’s just say that I’m constantly in need of a dish that I can make quickly for a crowd that will make fantastic leftovers if there is any left at the end of the night. Pasta salad is one on the top of the list of go-to dishes.
This recipe is not just simple to make and a crowd-pleaser, but it can be made in advance. No one wants to have to get up crazy early and run around like a chicken the day before you are hosting people.
***Note, if you are making the salad in advance, pour a bit of the pasta water onto the pasta before placing it into the fridge. This will keep the pasta from drying out and sticking together as it chills.
So what goes into a farmers market pasta salad?
I’m known for throwing as many veggies into a dish as I can. My husband jokes about how he thought butter and cheese were the only things that went in pasta before me. (He has come a long way!) For this salad, besides the pasta, I added red bell peppers, broccoli, green onions, carrots, and asiago cheese.
The dressing was a simple mix of lemon juice, basil, oregano, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I like to add one serving of dressing along with the pasta water before it goes into the fridge and one serving right before I serve it to ensure that the pasta has had time to soak up the flavors and give it a nice punch when people are ready to eat it.
What else can I add in?
Other fun options to play with or make diet-friendly include:
- Gluten-free: swapping the egg noodles I used with a gluten-free brand, rice noodle or quinoa.
- Vegan: double up on the herbs adding parsley or dill. Sprinkle nutritional yeast into the dressing to add a cheesy flavor or make tofu feta!
- Greek: Sub broccoli for cucumbers and tomatoes in for the bell peppers. After that, add dill to your dressing and top with feta cheese and olives.
- Low fodmap: Sub broccoli for kale, arugula, and tomatoes for an easier-to-digest, elimination phase salad.
- Go warm: I like this salad chilled overnight, but play with roasting your veggies and serving the pasta warm for an Italian restaurant feel. **Note, add in your fresh herbs or lettuce when ready to serve so they do not get cooked and turn a gross brown in the process.
Any extra tips?
- Let your pasta cool before adding in the other ingredients. If you add in the veggies before the pasta cools all the way the pasta will start to cook the veggies and you will end up with warm cucumbers, half-cooked broccoli, and herbs or lettuce that have turned brown.
- Cook your pasta for longer than expected. Cook a little more than you normally would ensure that the pasta does not harden and become hard to eat while it cools overnight.
- Add in a half-cup to a cup of pasta water. This will keep the pasta from sticking. I did not do this in the pasta that is pictured and ended up having to roll up my sleeves and handpick a part of pasta from each other. Sadly, not one of my finest moments.
- Add in your favorite lettuce or herb to spruce it up. The majority of the veggies will benefit from a nice night in the fridge, however, adding some fresh basil, chopped kale or arugula will give your pasta fresh, I just made this before you arrived look as well as some extra flavor.
- Don’t be afraid to adjust your flavors. There is no such thing as too much herb dressing, too many veggies, or too many flavors. Taste your pasta and adjust the flavor profile to fit you. If you don’t like basil, don’t use it, try mint instead. If you hate olive oil, use ghee or avocado oil. Everyone loves pasta, so play around until you find your perfect dish.
This fresh, veggie-packed pasta salad comes together in less than 30 minutes and is great for feeding a crowd. It is easy to modify into low fodmap, vegan or gluten-free varieties as your diet allows.
For the dressing:
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1–3 TBSP water
- 1–2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 bunch of fresh basil chopped (sub 1 tsp of dried)
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped (sub 1 tsp of dried)
- 1 lemon juiced, or roughly 2 TBSP of lemon juice
- ½ tsp of salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 tsp of garlic (optional)
- 2 TBSP of red wine vinegar
For the pasta:
- 1 box or roughly 12 oz favorite pasta
- 1 bunch of green onions chopped
- 2 medium-sized broccoli heads/ 2-3 cups chopped
- 5 medium carrots/ 2 cups chopped
- 2 red bell peppers/ 2 cups chopped
- ¼ cup of asiago cheese, more if desired
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain set aside ½-1 cup of pasta water for later. Rinse with cold water.
- While pasta is boiling, chop the veggies and set aside.
- Chop herbs, mix together with pasta water, oil, and lemon. (add the garlic and red wine vinegar if using)
- Allow pasta to cool most of the way, add in veggies and pour on dressing
- Serve immediately or allow to rest in the fridge overnight.
- If preparing ahead of time, pour half of the dressing onto the salad before placing it into the fridge and save the second half to pour on top right before serving.
- Allow your pasta to cool most of the way before adding the other ingredients. If the pasta is still hot you will get weirdly halfway cooked veggies and wilted greens.
- Add fresh herbs, chopped kale, and arugula to the salad before serving for a pop of color and extra flavor.
Keywords: Pasta, Salad, Lunch, Summer, Spring, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free