Summer is here, which means my noodle cravings are on hold until further notice. When it’s hot outside all I want to eat is watermelon, cucumber, and other hydrating foods. That is, unless I’m tempted with a big bowl of veggie-packed pasta salad. I’ll make an exception for carbs on a hot summer day if the dish in question involves cold noodles and crunchy vegetables tossed in a tangy dressing. Is there anything better?
Pasta salad is always the first thing on my plate at barbeques and potlucks. It’s hearty enough to be a main course, yet light enough to eat as a side dish with a grilled veggie dog or burger.
The first rule to making a great pasta salad is pretty simple. Cook your noodles until al dente – you don’t want them melting in your mouth. The pasta should hold its shape even after a couple of days of sitting in the fridge. I’ve been leaning towards gluten-free pasta lately.
My current favorite is the quinoa and brown rice noodles from Trader Joe’s. The second rule to a great pasta salad: don’t skimp on dressing. If you’re worried about overdoing it, use half when you toss everything in the bowl and save the other half for serving.
This Olive and Artichoke Pasta Salad recipe is super simple to throw together with pantry staples and summer veggies fresh from your garden. Just keep a box of pasta on hand along with a can of artichoke hearts and black olives. The tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley are cheap and easy to buy if you don’t have a green thumb.
Though, nothing compares to the taste of veggies from your own backyard. Toss it all together with a simple balsamic dressing and you’ve got a potluck recipe that everyone will enjoy.
I like making a big batch of this Olive and Artichoke Pasta Salad at the beginning of the week and eating it for lunch. It keeps in the fridge for several days. If you notice the pasta salad drying out, just add another splash of balsamic for a quick refresh.
This Olive and Artichoke Pasta Salad recipe is super simple to throw together with pantry staples and veggies fresh from your garden. Toss it all together with a simple balsamic dressing and you’ve got a potluck recipe that everyone will enjoy.
- 8 oz. gluten-free pasta
- 1 can extra-large pitted black olives (drained weight 6 oz.)
- 1 can artichoke hearts (drained weight 8.5 oz.)
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 ½ cups cucumber, large diced
- ¾ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the dressing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp. sweetener (agave, maple, or coconut palm syrup)
- ½ tsp. salt
- To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Pour in the noodles and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, slice the black olives and put them in a large serving bowl. Drain and rinse the artichoke hearts, roughly chop, and add them to the bowl. Halve the cherry tomatoes, dice the cucumber, and chop the parsley. Put these in the bowl to join the olives and artichokes.
- To make the dressing, put all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- When the pasta has cooled, transfer it to the serving bowl to join the veggies. Pour the dressing on top and toss gently to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before serving.
Prep time does not include the hour of chilling in the fridge.