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Healthy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe

Hoca

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the pasta salad in a white bowl from overhead with a stainless steel serving spoon in it

Dear taste buds, prepare yourselves for the flavor sensation of this Mediterranean-inspired recipe for Italian Pasta Salad! It’s loaded with artichoke hearts, basil, tomatoes, black olives and a big bright and bold garlic and red wine vinegar dressing to make it pop!

the pasta salad in a white bowl from overhead with a stainless steel serving spoon in it

Table of contents​

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This delicious Italian Pasta Salad recipe is full of healthy vegetables and made with the a flavorful garlic herb Italian dressing. One taste and it’ll be your new favorite pasta salad recipe.

I have made this recipe several times. It is soooooo good!!

-LYN-ANNE

Ingredients​

  • Pasta: 1 16-ounce box fusilli (gluten-free if desired)
  • For the Italian Dressing: one clove of minced garlic, best quality extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, dried Italian Seasoning (or oregano), salt and pepper.
  • Canned artichoke hearts: One 14 ounce can in water. Look for quarters or chop them. Frozen (and thawed) or marinated work too.
  • Roasted red peppers: Drained and chopped (fresh bell pepper can be used instead.)
  • Green onion or Scallions: You can also use red onion. Slice or chop fine.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Red and/or yellow, halved
  • Black olives: pitted and chopped
  • Fresh basil: If you don’t have it, you can skip it.

How To Make Healthy Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing​

boil the pasta and make the dressing

Step 1: Cook the Pasta:


This recipe only takes about 15 minutes of actual prep work. Much of the start to finish time is waiting for the pasta water to boil and allowing the pasta to cool. So getting that pot of water on at the very beginning should be the first step.

Step 2: Make Italian Dressing​


While you’re bringing that pot of water up to a boil and while it is cooking, you can get your dressing made. Simply whisk the oil, vinegar, garlic, dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. At this point, you can also prep the veggies.

add the pasta to the dressing and add veggies

Step 3: Add the Hot Drained Pasta To the Italian Dressing


The key to maximum flavor is to add the pasta to the oil and vinegar dressing when it is still hot. No need to rinse the pasta once it is drained, the dressing will coat the pasta so it won’t stick together. The hot pasta will absorb the dressing as it cools, and impart overall delicious Italian dressing flavor.

Step 4: Add the Veggies to the Cooled Pasta


After the pasta has cooled with the dressing for about 20 minutes, you can add in the artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, olives, basil and scallions. Serve as a Summer Salad with your favorite healthy barbecue recipes!

the pasta salad on the table from overhead with a smaller portion in a bowl next to it

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Make-Ahead Tips For Pasta Salad​

  • The dressing for this healthy pasta salad can be made up to 5 days in advance. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator. It will become solid in the fridge, just bring it up to room temperature and whisk it in a large mixing bowl before adding the hot pasta to it.
  • The entire recipe can be prepared through step three up to twelve hours in advance. Keep covered with plastic wrap or store in a large airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • All the veggies, except the tomatoes, can be cut and stored separately in covered containers in the fridge up to 12 hours ahead.
  • Another option would be to prepare start to finish but omit the tomatoes and basil up to 12 hours ahead. Add them to the cold pasta salad right before serving.

FAQs and Expert Tips​

Is pasta salad healthy?
Some pasta salads are unhealthy because they contain a large ratio of fatty high-calorie dressing mixed with pasta made with refined flour. They contain little to no vegetables and are lacking in nutrient-dense ingredients. Pasta salads that have a relatively large amount of nutritious vegetables added, whole grain pasta and olive oil-based flavorful dressings can be a part of a healthy diet.

How many calories are in pasta salad?
Most classic pasta salads, made with a mayonnaise-based dressing, are 300 to 400 calories per serving. This healthy pasta salad has 239 calories per 1 cup serving.

More Of My Favorite Healthy Pasta Salads​


Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!

Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Healthy Italian Pasta Salad Recipe




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Description


This easy and Healthy Pasta Salad recipe with Italian-inspired ingredients is so good! It’s loaded with artichoke hearts, basil, tomatoes, black olives and a big bright and zesty garlic and red wine vinegar dressing to make it pop! There is no cheese or meats, so it is vegan and vegetarian friendly too.


Ingredients

Units USM
  • 1 16–ounce box fusilli (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup best quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14–ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 12–ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, red and/or yellow, halved
  • 1/2 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
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Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente, about 12 minutes.
  2. While pasta cooks, whisk garlic, oil, vinegar, mustard, Italian Seasoning, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Drain pasta, and immediately add it to the dressing. Toss to coat. Let cool, tossing once or twice, at least 20 minutes. To make ahead, cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours.
  4. Stir artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, scallions, tomatoes, olives and basil into the pasta. Serve immediately or chill.

Notes

  • The dressing can be made up to 5 days in advance. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator. It will become solid in the fridge, just bring it up to room temperature and whisk it in a large mixing bowl before adding the hot pasta to it.
  • The entire recipe can be prepared through step three up to twelve hours in advance.
  • If you cannot find dry Italian Seasoning, substitute 1/2 teaspoon dry oregano and 1/2 teaspoon dry basil
  • icon-clock.png
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • icon-clock.png
    Cook Time: 12 minu
  • icon-folder.png
    Category: Side Dish
  • icon-squares.png
    Method: Stove Top
  • icon-flag.png
    Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 239
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 31
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 6 g

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