This Fall Harvest Pasta Salad is a festive cold pasta dish made with fresh and seasonal ingredients like apples and pears and colorful noodles, topped with a deliciously sweet honey poppyseed dressing!
This pasta salad recipe is perfect for back-to-school lunches and an easy go-to dinner idea, paired with this Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Quinoa Stuffed Delicate Squash and this Apple Cider Punch!
Fall arrived and so has our craving for heartier and heavier, nutrient dense meals, soups and warm bowl. Meat is often one we reach for, whether that’s a finger licking Beef Short Ribs or Classic Beef Stew recipe or even an Oxtail Stew. But really, the everyday meals are the ones we focus on mostly especially now that we have settled into a more fast-paced school and work schedules.
This Fall Harvest Pasta Salad is the perfect everyday meal, great for leftovers and school or work lunches. It combines our love for pasta with fresh and seasonal ingredients like apples and pears. However you can serve as a side for Thanksgiving meal, pot luck or dinners.
how to make a festive fall pasta salad
The key is to capture the essences of the season. But let’s break down to the details;
- Start by choosing a fall-themed pasta. I usually have very good luck shopping for fall pasta at Home Goods but unfortunately because they don’t carry a large stock on items, you may not be able to get your hands on any. Amazon is another great option and here are a few picks for you (affiliate links enclosed):
1 - Trader Joe’s brand pumpkin shaped pasta
2 - Pastabilities fall harvest pasta
3 - Tuscanini fusilli tri-color pasta
4 - Pastabilities apple orchard pasta
- Pick your seasonal ingredients. Apple and pears are delicious when added to pasta salads. The downside is that they will brown if you plan on having left overs, however in the past I have removed the apple and pear slices and added fresh ones the next day!
Bosc and bartlett pears are my favorite, however any type will work. When it comes to apples I love the combination of sweet honey crisp apples and granny smith, they balance each other really well.
Note: apples and pears are on the dirty dozen list so be sure to buy organic whenever possible!
- Seeds and nuts basically describes fall in a nut-shell, haha 🙂 so be sure to add a layer of crunchiness by including your favorites. I have possibly tried every combination and my current favorite picks are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. These not only add a nice flavor and nutritional benefit to our autumn crunch pasta salad but because these are smaller bite size ‘nuts, seeds and fruits’ it’s a lot easier to eat in a salad.
- Dressings can be seasonal too! Try the irresistible combination of olive oil, apple cider vinegar and a little honey. Add poppyseeds for a fun spin and your fall harvest pasta salad is complete!
Additional options are feta cheese or blue cheese. If this is a Thanksgiving pasta salad I’d also add pomegranate.
Looking to add some protein to this meal? I strongly recommend this Chicken Skillet or this Roast Chicken to go with it.
If you make this fall harvest pasta salad be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Fall Harvest Pasta Salad
- 1 pk fall pasta
- 1 whole pear, of your choice
- 1 whole honeycrisp apple
- 1 whole granny smith apple
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup feta cheese
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
- 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. When done rinse with cold water.
- Meanwhile wash and slice apples and pear. You can use a mandoline for this but a sharp knife will do the job. Set aside
- Add dressing ingredients to a small glass and whisk to combine. Set aside
- When you are ready to assemble add pasta, apple and pear slices, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and dressing to a large bowl and toss to combine. Top with feta cheese and serve.
This is a great and beautiful idea! I'm so happy...I just happen to have this pasta in my pantry!
Silvia Ribas says
Oh fun!!! Thanks Ann, glad you liked this recipe 🙂
Super excited to make this for Thanksgiving. What size serving platter did you use in the picture?
Silvia Ribas says
That’s great, happy to hear! You can use any platter/ bowl that you normally use and can hold a whole bag (1lb) of pasta. I liked the open platter as opposed to a big bowl because you get to display the pretty colorful noodles and apple/ pear slices better. I am serving it here on a large baking dish that has a metal stand, however not sure of the size.
I am making this for Thanksgiving. Is it best just to make it the morning of? Or should it be made in advance, minus cutting up the fruit? Thanks
Silvia Ribas says
You could boil the pasta the day before but save the fruit and dressing to add in the day of.