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EASY PASTA SALAD

This easy pasta salad with basil and tomatoes is one of my favorites! It’s ready in only 15 minutes and makes such a great side for BBQs and potlucks. If you’re looking for a simple pasta salad that is ready in no time, then you will LOVE this recipe!

I love making pasta salads in the summer! They’re easy to make, great to use up leftover vegetables, and perfect for hot days.

easy pasta salad with tomatoes and basil in a white bowl on a marble counter top with a blue napkin

EASY PASTA SALAD WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL – WHAT YOU NEED:

The recipe for this pasta salad really couldn’t be much easier. You need only very few ingredients and the pasta salad is ready in 15 minutes!

You need:

  • penne
  • tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • one shallot
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

As always, you can find the full ingredient list in a printable recipe box at the end of this post.

tomatoes, garlic, lemon, shallot, and basil on a marble counter top with a bowl of pasta salad in the background

HOW TO MAKE THIS EASY PASTA SALAD WITH ITALIAN DRESSING:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water after cooking.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cut the tomatoes into cubes and finely chop the shallot and the garlic. Cut the fresh basil into thin stripes.
  3. Make the dressing: In a small bowl combine the olive oil with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. In a large salad bowl combine the uncooked pasta with the basil, the shallot, the garlic, and the tomatoes with the dressing. Put the pasta salad in the fridge for at least an hour before serving it.
diced tomatoes, a knife, a clove of garlic. and a shallot on a wooden chopping board

HOW TO MAKE PASTA SALAD DRESSING

I used a very simple dressing for my pasta salad, which can easily be adjusted to your personal preferences.

You need only four basic ingredients:

  • good olive oil (make sure to choose a cold-pressed olive oil)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper

You could also add fresh or dried herbs to this easy pasta salad dressing. I also used a shallot and garlic.

a small bowl of olive oil, two lemons, one clove of garlic, and a shallot on a wooden chopping board

RECIPE NOTES

  • It’s important to put the pasta salad in the fridge for at least an hours. This way the flavors will be more pronounced.
  • Rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking.
  • Of course you could also use other pasta shapes for this simple pasta salad such as fusilli or spaghetti.
  • I also like to sprinkle roasted pine nuts on top.
  • You could also use arugula instead of basil. Or even add other veggies such as grilled zucchini or olives.

THIS EASY PASTA SALAD IS:

  • super easy to make
  • ready in less than 15 minutes
  • vegan
  • very budget-friendly
  • a great side for BBQs
  • super delicious
close-up of an easy pasta salad with tomatoes and basil in a white bowl

EASY PASTA SALAD – FAQ:

HOW LONG DOES PASTA SALAD LAST?

The question how long pasta salad is going to last depends a little bit on how it is stored. If it is stored in the fridge and the cold chain is not interrupted for too long, it will be good for at least 3-4 days.

However, it’s different when you brought the pasta salad to a summer party and it was standing in the sun for a longer time. Then you have to be more careful. Check the pasta salad for any weird smell before you put it in the fridge for later.

Also note that pasta salad with mayonnaise or yogurt won’t last as long as pasta salad with oil dressing.

IS PASTA SALAD HEALTHY?

Pasta salad can definitely be healthy. However, it depends a bit on the ingredients that you use for your pasta salad.

A pasta salad with white pasta, lots of mayonnaise, and ham definitely won’t be very healthy. It contains lots of “empty” calories, carbohydrates, and fat.

If you’re looking for a healthy pasta salad, you should use whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta. They have a considerably larger amount of fiber (about twice as much) and also help you to feel full for a longer time.

Combine the whole wheat pasta with healthy oils, fresh herbs, and vegetables for a delicious and healthy pasta salad with lots of fiber and vitamins.

By adding beans and other legumes to your pasta salad you can also increase the amount of protein. One example is my Mexican pasta salad with black beans.

a hand with a fork in a bowl of pasta salad on a marble counter top

CAN YOU FREEZE PASTA SALAD?

Especially after a bigger party or BBQ you might have a lot of leftover pasta salad. And maybe you already wondered if freezing pasta salad would be a good idea.

Problems when freezing pasta salad: 

  • The pasta could become mushy after freezing. However, this is not always the case!
  • Dressings with mayonnaise or yogurt don’t freeze well. The ingredients will separate when you defrost the pasta salad and it will look pretty unappetizing.
  • Vegetables with high water content such as cucumbers or tomatoes don’t freeze well either. They lose too much water when being defrosted and don’t taste well. Besides, they will be likely to turn brown after freezing. Freezer-friendly vegetables are for example peas or green beans.

My Tips:

Overall, I’m not the biggest fan of freezing pasta salads. Especially when mayonnaise or yogurt is involved. However, it’s a different story when you have a pasta salad with oil and vinegar with beans, asparagus, or peas. This version will freeze much better.

  • Depending on the pasta salad you could also use the leftovers for a new pasta dish. Just heat them up with lots of fresh or grilled vegetables.
  • Or maybe freezing the pasta salad without the dressing could be an option if you haven’t combined it yet. Then just freeze the dressing in a separate container.

CAN YOU MAKE PASTA SALAD THE DAY BEFORE?

Yes, you can definitely make pasta salad the day before. It’s actually a good idea because the flavors will be more pronounced this way. Just make sure to store it in an air-tight container in the fridge before serving.

EASY PASTA SALAD

Course: Entrée, Side DishCuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

324

kcal

This easy pasta salad with basil and tomatoes is one of my favorites! It’s ready in only 15 minutes and makes such a great side for BBQs and potlucks. If you’re looking for a simple pasta salad that is ready in no time, then you will LOVE this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 9 oz penne

  • 3 large tomatoes

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1 shallot

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • salt, to taste

  • black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water after cooking.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the tomatoes into cubes and finely chop the shallot and the garlic. Cut the fresh basil into thin stripes.
  • Make the dressing: In a small bowl combine the olive oil with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • In a large salad bowl combine the uncooked pasta with the basil, the shallot, the garlic, and the tomatoes with the dressing. Put the pasta salad in the fridge for at least an hour before serving it.

Notes

  • It’s important to put the pasta salad in the fridge for at least an hours. This way the flavors will be more pronounced.
  • Rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking.
  • Of course you could also use other pasta shapes for this simple pasta salad such as fusilli or spaghetti
  • I also like to sprinkle roasted pine nuts on top. 
  • You could also use arugula instead of basil. Or even add other veggies such as grilled zucchini or olives.

This recipe was created by veganheaven read the full article here

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