This healthy edition of the classic pasta salad is packed with fresh spinach, garden tomatoes and cucumbers. This pasta salad is a delicious and cooling recipe for the summer, it allows you to use up the produce you have in hand and have fridge food ready for days!
It’s summertime and as much as I love cooking, I also love a healthy break from the kitchen. Besides, who wants to stand in a hot kitchen all day?
In the summer months we switch almost completely from hot pasta dishes to pasta salads that can be refrigerated to days and allows me to use lots of produce, whether they are fresh from the garden or old produce that needs to be used.
Pasta salads can also be an open canvas for creativity. But in case I haven’t convinced you yet, take a look at some of the reasons why I love making pasta salads.
why you should be making more pasta salads:
- cold foods are cooling and temperature regulating, helping our body stay at cool and comfortable
- an opportunity to use some of the fresh veggies you have or older produce that need to be used
- no need for side dish, this pasta salad serves as both carbohydrates and veggies!
- stays in the fridge for days, which means less cooking and more time to enjoy the season (I usually make a big batch!)
- It’s a highly customizable dish. Use a combination of vegetables that your family will enjoy
- can be made with gluten-free pasta, or any type of pasta you like
- easy and fun way to get kids to eat more vegetables
- great for parties and gatherings (of all sizes)
- it’s a beautiful colorful and healthy dish to serve
A lot of times I find that pasta salads while they are packed with veggies, they can also become quite heavy and unhealthy depending on the dressing you use.
I am generally not a huge fan of most dressings, especially creamy based. This pasta salad has a delightful light Italian dressing with extra olive oil and herbs for good measure.
To my pasta salad I topped with pine nuts for a mild crunch and added benefits (skip the croutons!), and garnished with fresh dill.
ready to complete this meal? try these recipes below
Heirloom Tomato Salad – great summer salad!
Fish in Foil – prepare the packets and toss it in the oven or grill.
Sausage Kabobs – very easy, cooks quickly and everyone enjoys it
Shrimp Corn Skillet – good flavor and it has corn!
Peach Galette – while the recipe is baked, it’s also a seasonal (peaches) and delicious summer dessert plus you can top with ice cream
Tropical Fruit Salad – a very cooling dessert perfect for the summer or,
No-Bake S’mores – more on the traditional side. While summer s’mores require a campfire (or grill), this recipe is no-bake and a crowd favorite
If you make this Classic Pasta Salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to all your comments. Also, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram for a special shutout and/or a chance of being featured in my newsletter!
Classic Pasta Salad
- 1 lb elbow pasta (regular or gluten-free)
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 yellow pepper, diced
- 12 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 2 baby cucumbers, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, Roughly chopped
- pine nuts (optional)
- 1/4 cup italian dressing
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp dried basil
- salt + pepper
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside
- While the pasta is cooking prep the veggies and dressing
- Add pasta and veggies to a large bowl, mix to combine
- Add dressing and toss to coat pasta evenly. Top with pine nuts (optional). Serve
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