Garden Veggie Pasta Salad

05.24.2018

Pasta Salad is one of those staple recipes that’s been around for as long as we can remember, and for good reason — it’s amazingly delicious! This veggie packed version is easy thanks to the shortcut of zest bottled Italian salad dressing.

So all you have to do is boil the pasta, chop the veggies and toss everything together.

cold pasta salad in a glass bowl with wooden spoon

Easy Pasta Salad

This is a cold pasta salad, which means it’s perfect for summer. I also love that it can be made up to a day in advance, so if you are planning a summer get together you can check this off the list a day ahead.

And let’s not forget the main reason this is perfect for summer — all those colorful garden veggies (and some that are technically fruit). It’s such a great way to use up the abundance of veggies in season from either your garden, the farmers market or the grocery store.

Even though it uses a bottle of dressing, I’d still consider this one of the best pasta salads. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those sides that was always there in the summer growing up but it will always be one of my favorites.

Vegetarian Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Tri-color rotini
  • Bottled Italian dressing
  • Parmesan
  • Olives
  • Red onion
  • Baby carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Grape tomatoes
  • English cucumber
  • Yellow bell pepper

pasta salad ingredients on marble countertop

How to Make Pasta Salad

First, you’ll start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil, then boil the pasta just to al dente. Drain and rinse the pasta under cold water.

rinsing noodles for pasta salad

Meanwhile while the pasta is cooking, you’ll chop up all those crisp colorful veggies.

chopped vegetables for pasta salad

To finish, you’ll add the well drained noodles, all the veggies and the Parmesan to a large mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to evenly coat.

Could it get any easier? And it’s so tasty too! You’ll be lucky if you have any left.

mixing pasta salad together in bowl

Can I Use a Different Type of Pasta for This Cold Pasta Salad?

Yes, you can use any short and sturdy pasta you have on hand. Penne pasta or elbow macaroni would work in this recipe too.

Can I Add Different Veggies to This Recipe?

Yes, feel free to use up whatever veggies you have in your fridge. Likewise, you can omit any veggies in this recipe if you’re not a fan of them.

Can I Make This Pasta Salad in Advance?

Yes, this cold pasta salad can be made up to a day ahead of time. You don’t want to make it further in advance than that, as the veggies lose their crispness over time.

vegetarian Pasta Salad in a bowl

What to Serve with Pasta Salad

This easy pasta salad goes well with just about anything. You just can’t go wrong with a zesty homemade pasta salad.

You can serve it with:

  • Grilled chicken or steak
  • Skillet seared salmon or other fish
  • Fried chicken
  • Burgers
  • Pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches
  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Cold turkey sandwiches or warm paninis

Tips for the Best Pasta Salad

  • I prefer using Kraft Italian dressing for this vegetarian pasta salad, but any Italian dressing you like will work.
  • If you like cheese, try adding a cup of cubed mozzarella cheese to this salad.
  • Toss this salad just before serving to redistribute the Italian dressing.

Garden Pasta Salad on a plate with fried chicken

More Pasta Salad Ideas You’ll Love:

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Print

Garden Veggie Pasta Salad

5 from 5 votes

The perfect easy shortcut pasta salad! Loaded with veggies and parmesan and finished off with a zesty dressing. This is a classic, go-to summer side dish.

Servings: 8
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 oz) box tri-color rotini pasta
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 1/2 cups diced English cucumber
  • 1 1/2 cups tiny chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup olives, sliced
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced baby carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/3 cups bottled Italian salad dressing (I prefer Kraft with this recipe)

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente but do not season water with salt (the dressing has plenty). Drain an rinse until cold water.

  2. Pour pasta into a bowl, add tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper, olives, cucumber, carrots, red onion and parmesan.

  3. Pour dressing over and toss to evenly coat. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day). Add a little more dressing if needed.

Recipe Notes

Do you love cheese? Try adding a heaping cup of small cubed of mozzarella to this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Garden Veggie Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 331 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Sodium 772mg 32%
Potassium 434mg 12%
Total Carbohydrates 44g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 8g
Protein 9g 18%
Vitamin A 48.6%
Vitamin C 69.5%
Calcium 12%
Iron 7.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pasta Salad
Calories: 331 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

13 comments

  • Shanaha: Love this recipe. Super simple and a great dish year round. March 6, 2019 at 5:15pm Reply

  • Sabrina: My family loves this recipe! My daughter likes it so much that she requests it for school lunches about every other week. Such a yummy way to get those veggies in. October 1, 2018 at 7:37pm Reply

  • Hadassah Danielle: I made this for a potluck at a campout I attended last weekend, and it didn’t take long for it to disappear. It’s really good and a great dish to take to potlucks. August 29, 2018 at 12:39pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad to hear it went fast. Thanks for your review Hadassah! August 29, 2018 at 9:38pm Reply

  • Anne: Great flavor and too easy! Loved the abundance of veggies. This will be my go-to pasta salad. August 26, 2018 at 3:37pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Happy to hear that Anne! Thanks for the great review! August 26, 2018 at 6:13pm Reply

  • Christie: I loved how easy this was and it disappeared at our cookout in no time! So good! Thanks! August 7, 2018 at 3:17pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad you liked it Christie! Thanks for the 5 star review! August 7, 2018 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Carolyn Leake: Look to good to eat made for brunch at church was a Complete lay out gone July 26, 2018 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Holly: Tried this for the first time yesterday for a BBQ. Soooo good!! June 17, 2018 at 4:56pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear you liked this Pasta Salad Holly! Thanks for your review! June 18, 2018 at 10:54am Reply

  • Terry: I add cut up chunks of sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheese and pepperoni to mine. Sooooo yummy! Could almost live on this stuff. Haven’t found a pasta salad that even remotely comes close to this one!!! May 30, 2018 at 7:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Terry! So glad you like it! May 31, 2018 at 11:12am Reply

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