Seriously – an easy, healthy pasta salad recipe with homemade Italian dressing (that’s not complicated) is coming right up!! I looooooove pasta salad – I will pretty much eat any type. But the BEST pasta salad is going to be the one YOU MAKE – because you get to pick and choose the ingredients to add!
I feel like a traditional Italian pasta salad is tomatoes, mozzarella, olives….and maybe a few other ingredients. But guess what? I hate olives! If I’m eating someone else’s pasta salad and they are in there …. I’ll eat around them. That’s why I love making it myself….because you can add all your favorite veggies! So you can use my recipe as a guide, but feel free to swap out ingredients if there’s something you see you don’t like! It’s not like we’re baking and it’s going to ruin the dish. Whatever your taste preferences are, is only going to make it better!
Another plus about making it at home – you can control the dressing. Meaning there’s no additives, an insane amount of sodium, or preservatives. It honestly takes the SAME AMOUNT OF TIME as using dressing from the bottle for pasta salad. An Italian dressing recipe is SO SO EASY and I promise you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.
Okay….no more small talk. I’ll get straight to the recipe. Oh, and if you’d like more healthy salad recipes – check out this post of 4 salad recipes without lettuce.
HEALTHY PASTA SALAD INGREDIENTS:
- 1 box / bag rotini noodles (use Banza Chickpea to be extra healthy)
- 1 cucumber
- 1 pepper (red, orange, yellow, you pick!)
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 box Grape tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded carrots (or grated from a food processor)
- handful of broccoli florets
ITALIAN DRESSING INGREDIENTS:
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon tyme
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced (I was lazy and used the jarred garlic)
Pasta Salad & Dressing Instructions:
- Boil the pasta
- While the pasta is boiling, start the dressing! You need this done as soon as the pasta is ready. Save chopping veggies until after you get the dressing ready.
- Using the big bowl you’re going to pour the pasta into for serving, add all the ingredients listed for the Italian dressing.
- Stir/Whisk dressing ingredients together
- Once the pasta is drained and ready, pour it on top of the dressing in the serving bowl. This makes it so the pasta doesn’t stick to each other and the olive oil / dressing coats it immediately!
- If you haven’t started chopping the veggies, do so now! Just chop them up and throw them in the bowl. THAT’S IT! You’re done. Boom.
Easy peasy right? The hardest and longest part is chopping the veggies, lol. I was also making a carrot cake the day I made the pasta salad, and had leftover grated carrots from the food processor, I used those in my pasta salad. I actually loved the way the small pieces of carrot stuck to the rotini noodle! I felt like I had veggies in every bite no matter what.