Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad makes it hard to resist delicious fresh veggies! Colorful summer vegetables are tossed with pasta and the easiest Italian dressing for a fresh side dish that’s perfect for gatherings.
Technically we’ve still got a few weeks of Summer left. I know that tons of my gardener friends still are inundated with fresh summer veggies because they have been passing on the surplus to me! I love it!
Today’s summer vegetable pasta salad recipe is great because it’s so versatile. This recipe can be cut in half for a smaller batch, which is handy because it makes a big batch. If you don’t have all of the veggies on hand, just use what you do have. There’s no end to the combination of garden fresh veggies that go well in this colorful and crunchy veggie pasta salad.
First up, let’s talk about pasta shapes. The best shapes of pasta for pasta salads are the short, fat and/or curly noodles, like farfelle (bowties) , rotini, and campanelle. This is because they are easy to get on your fork and all that yummy dressing gets caught in the nooks and crannies of the pasta.
The shape of your pasta is important, but so is how you cook your pasta. Typically as pasta cools it will get a little tougher and chewier, so it’s okay to cook your noodles just a bit past al dente. You’re also going to want to salt the water more than what you would for a hot pasta dish. The salt will soak in better while the pasta is cooking and will give you a more flavorful salad in the end.
What vegetables to use for summer veggie pasta salad?
For this recipe I have used:
- yellow squash
- bell peppers
- red onion
- black and green olives
What other vegetables go well in pasta salads?
- cherry tomatoes
- marinated artichoke hearts
- garbanzo beans
Many people love additions of pepperoni, ham, or cheese too. But honestly, there’s plenty going on in this salad without it.
The dressing for this salad takes like no time to whip together. All you need is 2 packages of zesty Italian dressing seasoning, red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and salt. Simply whisk it all together and stir it into the pasta.
One of the best things about this easy side dish is that there’s no need to serve immediately. It can be made a day in advance and kept in fridge. However, wait to add the olives right before serving as the black olives can cause discoloration to the pasta.
How long can vegetable pasta salad be kept in the fridge?
Veggie pasta salad stays fresh for 2-3 days. Any longer than that and the vegetables start to lose their crunchy texture and the black olives can discolor the pasta.
Like pasta salads? Here are a couple more that I recommend:
- 1 pound farfelle pasta
- 1 small yellow squash
- 1 small cucumber
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 crown broccoli
- 1 crown cauliflower
- 1/2 red onion
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup sliced stuffed green olives
For the dressing
- 2 packets zesty Italian dressing mix
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, thinly slice the red onion. Cut the rest of the vegetables into bite sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine the zesty Italian dressing mix, red wine vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and salt. Add the pasta and the vegetables and stir well to combine. Refrigerate until completely chilled or overnight. Stir in the black and green olives just before serving.