This beautiful summer pasta salad boasts a variety of colorful garden veggies mixed into simple and delicious bow-tie pesto pasta. This salad recipe is easy to make, super healthy, and absolutely gorgeous! This afternoon when my husband came home after cycling, he saw the scrumptiousness on the kitchen counter and rushed for a bowl and fork. He dug right in! Between munches and moans of taste-bud delight, he delivered a lot of raving compliments. He wholeheartedly agreed: this flavorful pasta salad is just as yummy as it looks. Scroll down the page for the printable recipe card!
Summer Pasta Salad
What you’ll love most about this delightful summer recipe is how versatile is it. It’s one of those salads that can be created from whichever veggies you currently have on hand. I enjoy making this vegetarian pasta salad after a morning spent at the farmer’s market. Sometimes I’ll add in some red onion or green onion, it just depends on the colorful ingredients that have caught my attention that day.
Vegetarian Pasta Salad Ingredients
These are the ingredients I included in today’s summer pasta salad: bowtie pasta, basil pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, roasted red bell pepper, grilled corn, zucchini ribbons, a medley of organic tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, a drizzling of olive oil, freshly-ground black pepper and salt, and a generous sprinkling of pine nuts.
How to Grill Corn
Beautiful corn on the cob is one of my all-time favorite seasonal veggies. When making a fresh summer pasta salad, I love adding grilled corn kernels to the mix. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to grill corn on the cob!
- Remove corn husks and all silk fibers.
- Brush the corn with a little olive oil.
- Sprinkle each cob with salt and freshly-cracked pepper.
- Wrap each corn cob in a piece of foil just one layer thick.
- Grill for 20-25 minutes, turning the corn every 4-5 minutes so all sides are grilled.
- Remove the foil and place the corn straight on the grill.
- Rotate the corn until all sides have have beautiful char marks. Remove from grill.
- If desired, slather freshly-grilled corn with melted butter!
How to Make Pasta Salad
Here are directions for making a delicious easy pasta salad: Boil the pasta in heavily-salted water until al dente. Drain well and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Fold the pesto sauce (either homemade or store bought) into the noodles. With a sharp knife, slice the corn off the cob and add the kernels to the bowl. Slice a variety of multi-colored tomatoes in half and add those in.
Easy Pasta Salad
Add Kalamata olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, thinly-sliced grilled bell pepper, and sliced basil. Gently fold all ingredients together.
Bowtie Pasta Salad
Transfer your bowtie pasta salad to a large, wide serving platter.
Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe
Artfully arrange twisted zucchini ribbons along with a few extra ingredients on the surface. Lightly drizzle olive oil in a zig-zag pattern. Grind sea salt and pepper over the top. Sprinkle on some yummy pine nuts. Garnish with a few fresh, whole basil leaves. You’ve just created a platter of gorgeous edible art!
Homemade Pasta Salad
Enjoy your beautiful, healthy pasta salad at room temperature. Yum. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions About Pasta Salad
- How much pasta salad per person?
One pound of pasta will generally feed four adults when served as a main course. As a side dish, 16 ounces of pasta will feed six to eight people.
- Can pasta salad be made in advance?
In general, it’s best to serve pasta salad the same day you make it or within 24 hours. After that time frame, the veggies in the pasta salad will go limp and the texture of the pasta may become soggy.
- What goes with Pasta Salad?
These are the most popular dishes to serve with cold pasta salad: hamburgers, sliders, hot dogs, corn on the cob, steaks, chicken, spicy grilled lime shrimp, rustic artisan bread, Parker House rolls, and garlic hummus.
Kitchen Tools for Healthy Pasta Salad
Only a few basic kitchen tools are needed to make this healthy pasta salad recipe! If you love the zucchini ribbons in this post, they are easy to create with a simple vegetable peeler. Just slice off the first piece and discard it. Slice ribbons from top to bottom until the seeds in the middle or core are visible. Turn the zucchini and begin again on this new surface area.
SUMMER PASTA SALAD RECIPE > PIN IT TO PINTEREST
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DELICIOUS SUMMER SALADS
Cool, refreshing and immensely satisfying, delicious COLD SPAGHETTI SALAD is perfect as a meal or side dish. This pasta salad is a real crowd pleaser!
Healthy, scrumptious, BROCCOLI SALAD WITH BACON is so darn scrumptious! Perfect for weekday dinners or potlucks.
Beautiful GRILLED POTATO SALAD can be served two ways: either classic style with dressing mixed throughout the salad, or this lightened-up version shown below!
CLASSIC MACARONI SALAD is a picnic and potluck favorite! This pasta salad recipe is quick and easy to make.
Are you feeling festive? This flavorful TROPICAL FRUIT SALAD is just as delicious as it looks!
Summer Pasta Salad
Yield 4-6 Servings
Delicious, healthy, summer pasta salad is easy to make and super satisfying! Filled with beautiful colors, textures and flavors, it's the perfect recipe for weekday meals, festive weekend gatherings, and potlucks.
- 16-ounce box bowtie pasta, boiled according to package instructions
- 1 cup basil pesto, homemade or store bought
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, grilled and sliced
- 1 + 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 ears grilled corn, kernels sliced off the cob
- 1 zucchini, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- Sea salt + freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- Garnishes: fresh basil leaves and pine nuts
- Add the cooked drained pasta and the pesto to a large mixing bowl. Toss until the pasta is well coated.
- Add in the feta cheese, Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, grilled red pepper, grilled corn kernels, and halved cherry tomatoes. Fold these ingredients into the pesto pasta.
- Transfer the summer pasta salad to a large serving platter. Arrange twisted zucchini ribbons within the body of the salad. Add a few additional cherry tomatoes and pieces of grilled corn on the surface.
- Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Add a bit more feta cheese.
- Garnish with basil leaves and a generous sprinkling of pine nuts.
- Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!
Courses Lunch, Dinner, Party, Potluck
Cuisine American, Italian
SUMMER PASTA SALAD > JOIN THE CONVERSATION!
Do you enjoy shopping at farmers markets for fresh summer veggies or growing your own at home? What do you think about this healthy and delicious summer pasta salad filled with colorful ingredients? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation in the comments below!