The Perfect Summer Pasta Salad will win you ALL the picnic compliments. It’s made with seasonal fruit, bursting vegetables, fresh herbs, lime juice, and savory pistachios. This easy vegan pasta salad recipe is tossed with zesty lime juice for a healthy and refreshingly light twist on summer pasta salad. Make this for your next picnic, family get-together, BBQ, or for an easy, healthy lunch idea for work!
What makes this summer pasta salad healthy?
I’m a big believer that pasta can absolutely be a health food and a part of any weight loss plan. You just need to make sure there’s more nutritious vegetables and herbs than pasta. I do this healthy pasta hack in my delicious Way More Veggies Bolognese and my addictive Mint Cilantro Pesto Pasta from my Healthier Together Cookbook, which inverts the ratio of pasta to produce so you’re getting way more greens in every bite. Plus, did you know that cooked then cooled pasta has resistant starch, which is incredible for your microbiome AND amazing for your blood sugar? And blood sugar balance isn’t just important for diabetics. It’s actually very important for your overall health, namely your energy, sleep quality, hormones, digestion, and skin! You can learn all about it on this episode of the Healthier Together Podcast.
How to make vegan pasta salad
- First, boil a large pot of water and add a small palmful of salt. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Once it’s al dente (cooked, but still firm), rinse the pasta under cold water.
- Place the pasta in a large bowl and stir in the peas, strawberries, tomatoes, grapes, pistachios, and herbs (if serving immediately). If you’re making this pasta salad recipe ahead of time, keep the herbs separate until ready to eat.
- Add a couple pinches of salt, the lime juice, and drizzle in olive oil to coat the pasta.
- Grind fresh black pepper on top and chill in the refrigerator before serving!
Customize your healthy summer pasta salad
One of the best parts about making this healthy summer pasta salad for family gatherings and BBQ’s? It can be totally customized to meet your guests dietary needs, or for whatever ingredients you have on hand! I personally love the combination of the savory pistachios and sweet tomatoes, the fresh strawberries and bright herbs. But there are plenty of ways to make this pasta salad your own:
- Make it gluten free: use a gluten free short pasta of choice. I recommend a brown rice pasta (like Jovial) or chickpea pasta (like Banza) for the healthiest option.
- Give it a protein boost: add grilled chicken, salmon, or even chickpeas for an extra boost of protein.
- Make it creamy: sprinkle in some goat cheese for added indulgence and flavor.
- Switch up the pasta shape: I use fusili pasta here, but feel free to use whatever short pasta you have on hand! Farfalle (bowtie), penne, and cellentani (corkscrew) work well here.
- Switch up the veggies: feel free to throw in whatever fruits and veggies you have on hand: corn, avocado, cucumber, and yellow pepper would all be delicious.
Tips for making al dente pasta
- Always cook your pasta in well-salted water (like a small palmful of salt!) – especially in this pasta salad recipe. Well-seasoned pasta is a game-changer, I promise.
- If you’re making gluten free pasta, I recommend boiling it in salted water for only 6 minutes. Then, turning the burner off and cook for two more minutes. Then, rinse with cool water and toss with other ingredients to serve immediately. This will help the pasta not have a gummy texture you sometimes get with gluten free pasta recipes.
More healthy pasta recipes to try
Enjoy, and tag me if you make it on Instagram (@lizmoody)—I can’t wait to see!Print
- 3 cups pasta, cooked in well-salted water
- 3 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 3 cups sliced strawberries
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups torn fresh basil or mint leaves
- 1 1/2 cups raw, shelled pistachios, chopped as finely as possible
- Fine-grain sea salt
- Juice of 1 lime
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Cook your pasta according to the package instructions in a pot with boiling water and a palmful of salt. Drain and rinse your pasta under cold water.
- Add the pasta to a bowl and toss it with peas, strawberries, tomatoes, pistachios, and herbs (if serving this salad the same day). If making in advance, hold herbs until ready to serve.
- Add a couple pinches of salt, lime juice, and drizzle in enough olive oil to coat and toss until evenly distributed.
- Finish with a grind of fresh black pepper and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
Keywords: super pretty summer pasta salad, summer pasta salad recipe