Who says healthy can’t be delicious? Introducing our ultimate healthy pasta salad, loaded with a colorful medley of garden-fresh veggies, perfectly cooked pasta, and a zesty dressing that ties it all together.
So let’s say Pasta la vista to boring meals! And dive into this vibrant bowl of veg-packed goodness that is nutritious, refreshingly light, and irresistibly tasty!
If you are a pasta lover, then prepare to embark on a culinary adventure with this sensational healthy Pasta Salad recipe hosting an array of fresh and nourishing ingredients to create a super delicious medley of flavors and textures!
This delightfully healthy recipe promises to satisfy and energize you all day and allows you to discover a world of deliciousness that nourishes the body and soul!
It’s my time-tested recipe and is always a hit at my dinner table!
What is a Healthy Pasta Salad
This Rotini Pasta Salad is a melange of distinct flavors and healthfulness. The whole-wheat pasta provides a hearty and wholesome base for the salad, and an assortment of veggies is tossed in for a crunch and added nutrition.
The veggies such as bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions lend their vibrant hues and furnish essential vitamins and minerals to boost your well-being.
A generous sprinkle of chopped herbs infuses this recipe with a fresh and delightful fragrance that tickles the taste buds.
And finally, a zesty dressing adds tangy goodness and prepares the salad for a fascinating presentation!
So, if you are bored with bland-looking salads, try this pasta salad – its tantalizing flavors will revolutionize your perception of salads. Trust me, this flavorsome salad bursting with colors is a feast for the taste buds and the eyes!
Reasons You’ll ♡ Healthy Pasta Salad
This Pasta Salad is a tasty treat that elevates the joy of healthy eating. As this is a superbly delicious salad with an added goodness of veggies, it is guaranteed to become your family favorite in no time. Other reasons you will love this recipe are —
- Quick and easy to make
- A fantastic choice for a light lunch or a side
- Great for the outdoors, picnics, potlucks, or at any gathering
- Packed with nutrient-rich ingredients
- Flavorful and contains no complicated ingredients
- Very versatile
- Vegan version possible
- Will effortlessly impress both your taste buds and your health-conscious friends!
What more can you ask in a salad? A one-pot meal that is completely satisfying and filling! Besides that, flavor and texture delivered in every bite.. Guaranteed!
And the best part is that the flavorful dressing makes a pretty bold presence without being too overpowering and adds flavor to the whole dish, as the pasta and veggies are bland in taste.
Healthy Pasta Salad Ingredient List
Feta Cheese — Adding some creaminess to the salad makes it completely irresistible. Feta cheese adds a nice creamy touch to the pasta salad that hypes the overall flavor of the salad. You can also add halved mini mozzarella cheese balls for more deliciousness and fun. However, if you have a vegan crowd, consider skipping it altogether.
Salt and pepper — Flavorings such as salt and pepper elevate the taste of this healthy pasta salad. To amp up the flavor instantly, feel free to add more spices like oregano or mint leaves.
Fresh Veggies — This healthy pasta salad comprises assorted veggies like cucumber, bell peppers, tomatoes, black olives, and red onions. To add a pop of color, use any colored bell peppers. While red bell peppers add a sweet touch to the recipe, cucumbers offer a refreshing taste that lingers on the taste buds. English cucumbers turn out to be the best option. However, if you’re using some other cucumbers, scoop the center to omit the seeds. Cherry or grape tomatoes are an ideal addition, while healthy Greek olives, green or kalamata olives also work amazingly.
Oil — Any favorite neutral oil can be used for this healthy delicacy. However, olive oil works the best. Another great option would be Avocado oil.
Healthy Pasta Salad Tips and Variations
Preferred Pasta type — This healthy pasta salad is best made with pasta that has ridges facilitating the dressings to stick to its surface. Any curly pasta that efficiently holds the dressing in its nooks and crannies makes an ideal choice for this salad.
The dressing clings to the texture of the pasta, making it more flavorful. You can use gluten-free pasta for your gluten-intolerant guests, thereby giving this recipe some dietary adjustments without compromising on the taste.
A flavorful variation: — You can use Dijon or whole-grain mustard for added nutritional value and a pop of flavor. Dijon mustard is nutrient-rich and has a mellow flavor compared to yellow mustard, making it a better choice for salads.
Cooking Pasta just right — Overcooked pasta will spoil the charm; therefore, make sure to cook the pasta just right. For the best texture, I usually cook Rotini pasta, which should be just a tad past al dente (but not mushy). It should be soft but still have firmness. If you are using whole-wheat pasta, make sure to cook it all the way, as the al dente whole-grain pasta doesn’t taste great.
Herbs for more flavor and color — Adding herbs to a healthy pasta salad is a great way to enhance its taste, texture, and nutritional value. Cilantro is added to this Pasta salad which takes it to another level. However, you can feel free to swap cilantro for fresh parsley, mint, or even fresh basil.
But before adding fresh herbs to the recipe, please make sure they are washed, dried, and chopped. Also, save some for the last as a garnish. The Pasta salad looks prettier and more flavorful when finished with fresh chopped herbs. Imagine the little pecks of green on a colorful pasta salad – mouth-watering, right?
Dressing the salad — Dressing is imperative for a more exciting and delicious recipe. But you have to take care of certain things when using the dressing for your salad. If you are making the salad for an outdoor event or picnic, please store the dressing in a cool container, as Mayo and sour cream can go bad in the hot weather.
To be safe, you can substitute the homemade dressing for a store-bought bottle of Chipotle dressing, and you will have an excellent salad in no time.
Impress the Vegans — You can skip the Chipotle dressing and have an oil-vinegar-based dressing for this salad to please your vegan guests. Red wine vinegar and EVOO add a bright acidic touch that gives a magical twist to this salad. Any classic vinaigrette dressing will also work great. Want something wonderful? Toss in the Basil-pesto and enjoy the amazing flavors!
Cool the Pasta before assembling — Ensure the pasta has cooled down completely before tossing in the veggies. The hot pasta may wilt away the veggies, making them look mushy and unappetizing. Cold pasta will just be perfect!
Turn on the spiciness — This healthy pasta salad recipe is a moderate spice version. However, you can spice up the heat by adding red pepper flakes, diced jalapeno, or even chopped pepperoncini peppers.
Preventing the pasta from drying out — Once tossed, keep your cold pasta salad wholly covered to avoid drying out.
Assembling your delicacy: — Assembling this salad right before serving is best. You may prepare it in parts and store it in the fridge until the next day, but please do not assemble it a day before. If assembled way ahead, the pasta might get soggy and unpalatable.
No-cook pasta makes a great choice: — Use no-cook pasta for this recipe, as no cooking is required. Just toss the pre-cooked rotini pasta in a bowl and warm it in the microwave. When cooled to room temperature, toss it with your freshly prepped veggies. Finish off with dressing and serve it right away.
Preparing the dressing: — The dressing may become firm if prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge. This may not facilitate the tossing. Bring it to room temperature and whisk it well before adding to the salad.
Add the dressing an hour before serving the salad, and let it chill in the fridge. The chilling will allow enough time for the dressing to mingle with the other ingredients and let the pasta absorb flavor, making the pasta salad superbly delicious.
Let me know what you think!
Are you already craving this mouth-watering Pasta Salad? I am sure you are!
A versatile and healthy recipe as this Pasta Salad is always great as a snack or a nutritious meal.
So, let us gather our ingredients and get started. I promise you will love every moment of this recipe as much as I did.
Should you make this Healthy Pasta Salad, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below.
And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.
MORE COMFORTING ONE-POT RECIPES THAT YOU’LL LOVE!
Follow the step-by-step instructions below to make the best Healthy Pasta Salad
Healthy Pasta Salad
CHIPOTLE RANCH DRESSING – MAKES 1.5 CUP – USE 1/4-1/2 CUP
- 1 cup Fat free yogurt
- ½ cup Sour Cream
- ¼ cup Mayonnaise
- 1 slice of Chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce
- ¼ cup Chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1½ teaspoon Dried Parsley
- ½ teaspoon Onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon Coarsely crushed black peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon Dried Dill
- ½ teaspoon Dried Chives
- – – Salt to taste
- Boil the pasta as per package instructions.
- Once cooked and al dente, drain the pasta. This rinsing with cold water shocks the pasta after it comes out of the boiling water and will stop the pasta from cooking more.Since we are using pasta in a salad, rinse it well to eliminate the starch.
- Transfer the completely drained and cooled pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- Add chopped veggies and pasta to the bowl.
- Gently toss all the ingredients until they have been well distributed among the curly pasta.
- Finish with a drizzle of my go-to Chipotle Ranch Dressing.
- Mix, mix and mix.
- Coarsely crush black pepper on top and mix again.
- Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Top with Feta cheese and serve. Enjoy it, hot or cold!
CHIPOTLE RANCH DRESSING
- Add all the ingredients to a blender/food processor.
- Pulse until well blended.
- Adjust seasoning and glaze your salad with this amazing dressing.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat other vegetables can I add to this salad? As this is an extremely versatile recipe, you can add any veggies that go well with each other. The assorted veggies that are usually added are —
- Artichokes — These are packed with fiber and rich in antioxidants and vitamins! Use canned quartered artichokes for this recipe.
- Red peppers — A great source of Vitamin C, carotenoids, and phytochemicals, red bell peppers also add crunchy deliciousness to the recipe. Use jarred, roasted red bell peppers for optimum flavor.
- Scallions — Use thinly sliced Scallions instead of red onions for a mild flavor that perfectly works with this salad recipe.
- Edamame — Rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, edamame is also an excellent choice for this salad.
- Chickpeas — Give an additional dose of protein to this healthy and delicious salad with chickpeas.
- Kale, Arugula, Baby Spinach — For more color and nutrition, try some leafy greens like Kale, arugula, and baby spinach for this recipe.
- Pinenuts — Add some roasted Pinenuts as they provide an extra crunch besides the magical health benefits.