Gluten Free Summer Pasta Salad 

Published on May 20, 2023

  by   Kristina Stosek

10 reviews

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 12 minutes Serves: 6 - 8
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This easy and light Gluten Free Summer Pasta Salad with fresh veggies, flavored with vinaigrette and plenty of fresh herbs, is the go-to pasta salad this summer. Once you cook the pasta, everything comes together quickly and simply. Cucumbers, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, garlic, black olives, fresh parsley, and basil, all tossed with gluten-free pasta. It’s flavorful and with rainbow colors. Enjoy this plant-based summer salad for dinner at your next barbecue, or save the leftovers for a healthy lunch. 

summer pasta salad with fresh veggies in a bowl

Why should you rinse gluten free pasta for a salad after cooking?

Rinsing pasta for a salad after cooking is an important step that helps to ensure that the pasta is not sticky and is the right texture for a delicious and refreshing summer salad.

Here is why:

Stops the cooking process: Rinsing the pasta with cold water immediately after cooking stops the cooking process and prevents the pasta from becoming overcooked and mushy.

Removes excess starch: Rinsing the pasta removes excess starch that can make the pasta sticky and clump together.

Cools down the pasta: Rinsing the pasta with cold water cools it down quickly, which is important for making a pasta salad. If the pasta is too hot, the vegetables and herbs can wilt.

Here is where you can buy gluten free pasta I used in this pasta salad recipe.

serving bowl and side bowl of summer pasta salad

best gluten free pasta for summer pasta salad

Here are some of the best gluten-free pasta options that work well for pasta salad:

Brown rice pasta: Brown rice pasta has a neutral flavor and texture similar to traditional pasta. It holds up well in pasta salad and is a good choice for gluten-free options.

Quinoa pasta: Quinoa pasta is made from a blend of quinoa flour, corn flour, or white rice flour. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a texture similar to traditional pasta. It works well in pasta salad and is an excellent plant-based complete protein source.

Chickpea pasta: Chickpea pasta is made from chickpea flour, has a slightly nutty flavor, and has a texture similar to traditional pasta. It is high in protein and fiber and works well in pasta salad.

Lentil pasta: Lentil pasta is made from lentil flour and has a slightly earthy flavor and a texture similar to traditional pasta. It is high in protein and fiber and works well in pasta salad.

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gluten free pasta, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, olives, onions and herbs in a bowl

Why should you cook the pasta al dente for salads?

Cooking pasta al dente, which means “to the tooth” in Italian, is an important step for making a delicious and well-textured pasta salad.

When pasta is cooked al dente, it is still slightly firm in the center, which means it has a bit of chewiness and is not too soft or mushy.

If you cook the pasta for too long and it becomes overcooked, it will become soft and mushy, making it less tasty in a salad.

Overcooked pasta can also absorb too much dressing, which can make the pasta soggy.

Cooking the pasta al dente also helps preserve the pasta’s nutritional value. Overcooking pasta will only add to the loss of vitamins (especially water-soluble B vitamins) and minerals when cooking it.

fresh cucumber, pepper, red onion, tomatoes, basil, garlic and parsley on a cutting board

best herbs for gluten free summer pasta salad

Fresh herbs add a burst of flavor and color and should complement the other ingredients in the salad. Here are some of the best fresh herbs for pasta salad:

Basil: Basil is a classic herb for pasta salad. It has a sweet, slightly peppery flavor and pairs well with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and balsamic vinegar.

Parsley: Parsley has a bright, fresh flavor and can add a pop of green color to the pasta salad. It pairs well with lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.

Dill: Dill has a slightly sweet and tangy flavor and pairs well with cucumber, feta cheese, and lemon juice.

Cilantro: Cilantro has a bright, citrusy flavor and pairs well with spicy ingredients like jalapeños and chili powder.

Thyme: Thyme has a slightly earthy and lemony flavor and pairs well with roasted vegetables and chicken.

Why is it important to cook pasta in well-salted water?

It is essential to cook pasta in well-salted water for several reasons:

Enhances flavor: Salt enhances the natural flavor of the pasta and makes it taste better.

Improves texture: Salted water helps to firm up the pasta and gives it a better texture. It also helps to prevent the pasta from becoming mushy.

Seasoning: Salted water is a way to season the pasta from the inside out, which means the pasta will have flavor throughout, not just on the surface.

Prevents sticking: Salted water helps to prevent the pasta from sticking together, which makes it easier to cook and serve.

the best oil for summer pasta salad

Several options can add flavor and richness to the dish. Here are some of the best oils for pasta salad:

Extra-virgin olive oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is a classic oil for pasta salad. It has a fruity flavor and pairs well with herbs, garlic, and balsamic vinegar.

Avocado oil: Avocado oil is a healthy oil with a mild, nutty flavor. It works well in pasta salad and is a good source of monounsaturated fats.

Walnut oil: Walnut oil has a rich, nutty flavor and pairs well with roasted vegetables and goat cheese.

Sesame oil: Sesame oil has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and pairs well with Asian-inspired pasta salads.

Grapeseed oil: Grapeseed oil has a neutral flavor and is a good option for those who want something other than a strong oil flavor in their pasta salad.

Add-ins for summer pasta salad

You can change the salad by adding quartered hard-boiled eggs, pieces of cooked chicken, slices of ham, or various cheese, such as feta, parmesan, bocconcini, or chunks of smoked gouda.

How long will pasta salad with vinaigrette dressing keep at room temperature?

It is not recommended to leave pasta salad with vinaigrette dressing at room temperature for more than two hours. This is because bacteria can grow rapidly at room temperature.

To extend the shelf life of the pasta salad, it’s best to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored pasta salad with vinaigrette dressing can last up to five days when refrigerated.

gluten free pasta and fresh veggies with vinaigrette salad

My Take on Gluten Free Summer Pasta Salad

Summer is almost in full swing, and what better way to beat the heat than with a refreshing pasta salad. Whether you’re searching for a plant-based healthy meal option on a hot summer day, or head to a backyard barbecue, or packing up for a picnic at the park, a light veggie summer pasta salad is always a big hit during hot weather months.

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Many thanks!

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Leave a Comment

Kristina

Sandra, thank you for your note. Unfortunately, we don’t know which recipe you are referring to (roasted veggie pasta)

SANDRA

!!! LOVE YOUR RECIPES, BUT A COUPLE OF THE PASTA DISHES LINK TO THE WRONG RECIPES!!!! THE PHOTO OF THE ROASTED VEGE PASTA LINKS TO THIS COLD PASTA DISH. PLEASE FIX.

Jeromy

best gluten free pasta salad I have ever tasted!!! 5 star

Sandy

this will be my go to pasta salad always, so good!

Tracy

My family loved this pasta salad!!! It has the perfect dressing super light and so much flavor. I had some leftovers, and the salad was even better the next day.

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