Easy Pasta Salad – The Summer Edition

Although I’m writing this from a mountain resort on a cold rainy day, I know that in couple of days I’ll be back to 86 degrees, trying to do everything else in my kitchen rather than heating the oven. Pasta salad is my go-to summer meal, especially because I photograph so much food that most of the time I find myself uninspired and putting together the usual ingredients that populate my fridge and pantry – vegetables, greens, beans and pasta.

Basically there’s no actual recipe for a pasta salad – you just cook the pasta, dice your veggies and toss everything together in a large bowl, bathing everything generously in your favourite dressing. However, just like for every classic recipe I approached on my blog, there are a few tricks to help you turn a boring dish into a healthier and more vibrant meal. Nothing too fancy, just simple steps that will uplift your vegetarian pasta salad to a nourishing, nutrient-packed meal your body will love. So here are some ideas:

  • Go GF – a GF pasta will be an easier burden on your digestion, minimise inflammation and add extra nutrients, such as protein and fibres to your classic pasta salad. Some of my favourite GF alternatives are chickpea, lentil or pea pasta. If you go with a wheat version, try adding beans or chickpeas to your pasta salad, to make sure you get all the amino-acids necessary for building the protein.
  • Get creative with your veggies – although a summer pasta salad is mostly about tomatoes and cucumber, try to make the most of your weekly farmers’ market visits. I always have a bunch of green leaves in my fridge (and it doesn’t have to be kale or chard – you can use the carrot, kohlrabi or beet greens, fresh parsley or any other green leafy veggie you find fresh) to add to my salads, because of their liver cleansing properties and hormone balancing properties.
  • Use the leftovers – cooked veggies from your yesterday’s dinner will fit just fine into a pasta salad, give it a richer taste, save you some bucks and help you avoid waste.
  • Uplift your dressing – I like to get creative with pasta salad dressing, using superfoods and greens that otherwise wouldn’t fit into the picture. A bit of turmeric powder, some grated ginger, a small bunch of fresh parsley or spinach, a dash of spirulina – they can be added into a blender with the classic olive oil&lemon juice mix, to enrich the nutritional value and make the dressing more digestive-friendly.

I used my signature turmeric dressing for this summer pasta salad, although I wouldn’t normally add any spice to the combo. However, combined with lemon, basil, ginger and extra virgin olive oil, the earthy taste of turmeric really faded, the salad got a great taste and colour, and I got an extra anti-inflammatory kick from this vibrant orange spice. 

Interested in more vegetarian pasta salad combos? Here are some of my favourites: Vegan Pasta Salad, the Very Green VersionLentil Pasta Salad Kale and Marinara {Vegan and GF}, or My Quick Orrechiette Pasta with Kale Pesto

Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Easy Pasta Salad - The Summer Edition

Loaded with cleansing green ingredients, fresh and cooked summer veggies and bathed in a luscious turmeric dressing with anti-inflammatory properties, this pasta salad is the best summer meal to keep you satiated while nurturing your body with healing nutrients.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: pasta salad
Servings: 2
Calories: 380kcal
Author: The Awesome Green


  • 3/4 cup pasta fussili, orecchiette or rigatoni will absorb more dressing, but you can use any pasta according to your own preferences
  • 1 cup red kidney beans cooked
  • 10-15 red cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 zucchini roughly chopped
  • 2 laminate kale leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 cup mixed greens I used baby spinach, arugula and chard, but you can use any available
  • 2 shallots finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 small broccoli head cut into very small florets
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • For the dressing
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger or 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp Dijon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • To garnish - fresh basil leaves micro-greens


  • In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, water fry the scallions, adding 1 tbsp water and stirring frequently until translucent.
  • Add the zucchini, bell peppers and 10-12 cherry tomatoes halves, drizzle with apple cider vinegar, stir and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until slightly cooked but still crunchy.
  • Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • While the veggies are cooking, prepare the pasta.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package. Transfer into a colander, rinse with cool water, transfer into a large bowl and set aside.
  • Add the dressing ingredients into the blender and process to obtain a smooth, vibrant yellow liquid.
  • Add the cooked veggies, beans and kale to the pasta bowl, and toss to combine.
  • Top with the mixed greens, drizzle the dressing, toss to combine and serve garnished with fresh basil and micro-greens.



Calories: 380kcal
ALSO YUMMY:  Vegan Lentil Meatballs in Spiced Pumpkin Tomato Sauce
  • Kankana Saxena
    August 8, 2019

    5 stars
    Such a gorgeous looking pasta salad! I especially love the pop of colors you added there.

  • suzie
    August 15, 2019

    5 stars
    Oh, wow! Thank you for this amazing recipe!  I can’t believe how easy it is to make!

  • linda
    September 20, 2019

    5 stars
    How wonderful…. I’m sure my family and friends will love it. Thank you very much

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