Recipes » Salad Recipes » Summertime Pasta Salad

Summertime Pasta Salad

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A cold pasta salad packed with fresh veggies and lightly dressed with a parmesan-garlic dressing.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Summertime Pasta Salad - a cold pasta salad packed with fresh veggies and lightly dressed with a parmesan and garlic dressing. https://www.lanascooking.com/summertime-pasta-salad/

Summertime Pasta Salad – a cold pasta salad packed with fresh veggies and lightly dressed with a parmesan and garlic dressing.

Call me old-fashioned but I just love a good old pasta salad. One that is loaded with fresh veggies and coated with a rich, tangy dressing. Oh, yeah.

Summertime Pasta Salad - a cold pasta salad packed with fresh veggies and lightly dressed with a parmesan and garlic dressing. https://www.lanascooking.com/summertime-pasta-salad/

That’s right, I’m bringing back the centerpiece of every 1980’s cookout. I’m making it my mission to revive the lowly pasta salad. Just ask BeeBop. We’ve had it three times in the last two weeks :-) And why not? It’s really delicious. And it can be pretty healthy as long as you don’t load it up with lots of cheese and too much dressing.

This Summertime Pasta Salad has more vegetables than pasta and goes fairly easy on the dressing. It is a great accompaniment for pretty much anything you want to grill – chicken, fish, shrimp, steaks, burgers – so let’s get started!

How to Make Summertime Pasta Salad

First you’ll cook half a pound of rotini pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and rinse it under cold running water. Let it sit and drain while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Small mixing bowl containing salad ingredients.

You’ll need a large mixing bowl to hold all of this salad. Add each of the ingredients to the bowl as you work. Amounts are just a guideline. Add more or less as you prefer. Admittedly, there is a lot of chopping involved in making this salad, but none of it is difficult.

So, first peel, chop and seed a large tomato. Next peel the cucumbers and cut them into small cubes. I prefer the Kirby pickling type cucumbers for this salad. They just taste like summer to me.

Now remove the stems, ribs and seeds from the sweet peppers, chop them and add to the bowl. Cut the roasted red bell pepper into about ½” pieces and add it, too.

Finely chop the celery and green onions adding them to the bowl with the other vegetables. Don’t use too much celery since it has a really strong taste and can overpower the entire salad if you aren’t careful.

Last, stack up the basil leaves, roll them up like a little cigar and cut crosswise into ribbon-like shreds. Add to the bowl.

Small mixing bowl with cooked pasta added.

Add the cool, well drained pasta to the bowl. Pour over the dressing.

Bottle of parmesan and garlic salad dressing.

I used this Parmesan and garlic dressing, but you can use any Italian or Mediterranean-type dressing that your family likes. Normally I use the iconic “zesty Italian.” Always good!

Add the salt and pepper. Toss everything together until well mixed.

Suggestions: Other additions that are also good are olives (both black and green), thinly sliced red onion and blanched green beans cut into 1″ lengths. To make this into a main dish salad, add some grilled chicken or shrimp.

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Summertime Pasta Salad - a cold pasta salad packed with fresh veggies and lightly dressed with a parmesan and garlic dressing. https://www.lanascooking.com/summertime-pasta-salad/

Summertime Pasta Salad

A cold pasta salad packed with fresh veggies and lightly dressed with a parmesan-garlic dressing.
5 from 1 vote
Print It Rate It Save
Course: Salads
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 174kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rotini pasta
  • 1 large tomato peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium pickling cucumbers (or 1 large cucumber)
  • 5 small sweet peppers or 1 whole green bell pepper
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 4 large basil leaves cut in chiffonade
  • cup Italian or other Mediterranean-type dressing
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the rotini according to the package directions. Drain and rinse well under cold running water. Let the rotini drain while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  • Add ingredients to a large mixing bowl as you work. Peel, chop and seed a large tomato.
  • Peel the cucumbers and cut into small cubes.
  • Remove the stems and seeds from the sweet peppers, chop them and add to the bowl.
  • Cut the roasted red bell pepper into about 1/2” pieces and add it, too.
  • Finely chop the celery and green onions adding them to the bowl with the other vegetables.
  • Stack the basil leaves, roll up and cut crosswise into ribbon-like shreds. Add to the bowl.
  • Add the cool, drained pasta to the bowl.
  • Pour over the dressing.
  • Add the salt and pepper.
  • Toss everything together until well mixed.

Notes

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 174kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 417mg | Potassium: 302mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 862IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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18 Comments

  1. there is NOTHING like a great pasta salad on a hot summer day – and this one is terrific Lana!!

  2. How many servings does this recipe yield? I’m having a party for about 55ish people. Thanks and I’m so excited to try out this dish! It looks delicious :)

    1. Jessica – This makes about 8 servings as a side dish or with the addition of some grilled chicken or shrimp would serve 4-6 as a main dish salad.

  3. I love a pasta salad, and the next day for lunch it is always that much better. Thanks so much for your version to try.

  4. so like pasta salads, and so do enjoy them during the summer… especially like them with the shrimp….

  5. I love a good pasta salad too. Yours looks so flavorful and I love how colorful it is. :)

    1. Thanks, Lindsey. I purposely used the plain pasta so that the colors of the veggies would stand out on their own. They just seem to get lost when you use the tri-color stuff.

  6. Girl, bring it back! Bring it back! I love this salad…and I love that it isn’t downed in an opaque river of questionableness. :) Bright and vibrant; just like you! :)

    1. Aw, Chris – what a sweet comment! And you know the truth is…I could up the amount of tomatoes in this and pretty much do without any dressing at all!

  7. I do love a good pasta salad! That Parmesan garlic salad dressing looks delicious! I think I’m going to make this salad this weekend, Lana. Maybe it will bring summer to Seattle.

    1. I wish I could send you some of our summer. We’ve been having temps in the mid to upper 90’s for a few weeks now. Definitely summer here!