Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad, a simple, colorful pasta salad that’s perfect for lunches, picnics, BBQ’s, and easy dinners. Fresh pasta tossed with homemade basil vinaigrette, creamy goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, white beans, and finished with sliced avocado. This is a (mayo free) pasta salad that everyone will love.
I’ve always loved a good pasta salad. Growing up my dad would make pasta salads during the summer months when he’d get home late from work. Turning on the oven was just not something he wanted to do, so he’d boil some pasta and toss in whatever vegetables and cheeses he had on hand, and that was dinner. Usually, it was a mix up of broccoli, fresh cherry tomatoes, lots of garden fresh basil, and chunks of cheddar cheese. Nothing crazy exciting, but I used to love my dad’s pasta salads.
So much so that I actually included his “recipe” in the Half Baked Harvest Cookbook.
I think what I loved most about my dad’s pasta salads was that he’d serve them to us warm instead of cold. My dad’s secret was tossing steaming hot pasta with raw veggies and cubes of cheese. The hot pasta would warm the veggies and melt the cheese.
I remember it being just so good, and I used to love eating chunks of broccoli and melty cheddar cheese together with the pasta. It was one of those healthy…ish summertime comfort foods, and to this day it’s one of my favorites.
Also? It feels like yesterday that I was sitting at my parent’s kitchen counter at our house in Rocky River, Ohio, eating this meal at nine o’clock on a summer night. The memories are so vivid in my head, and I LOVE looking back on them. Not only do these memories have me so excited for summer, but they also remind me that summer nights are the best…especially if you’re a care free kid.
With Memorial Day just a couple of weeks away, I thought I would start sharing some recipes that will be great for warm nights and outdoor eating. Plus, we’ve finally have had a taste of warmer weather here this week, and it’s safe to say that I am LOVING it.
It’s amazing what a few days of warm temperatures and sunshine can do to a girl. Very happy over here.
OK. The details.
As you might be able to guess from the above, this pasta salad is simple and mimics the same steps my dad takes when making his pasta salads.
Everything starts with the herby vinaigrette. It’s a mix of basil, chives, dill, and lemon. This fresh vinaigrette is the base of the flavor for this salad. Once this is made, the rest of the salad comes together in minutes.
Tip: if you double the vinaigrette, it makes for the perfect salad dressing, dip for veggies, and sauce for meats. A lot times I will make this vinaigrette on Sunday so that I have it on hand to create quick dinners throughout the week.
Next, boil some pasta. Short cut is always best for a pasta salad, but feel free to use whatever short cut pasta is your favorite. During the last minute of cooking, toss some fresh asparagus in with the pasta to give it a quick cook before draining.
Now, toss the hot pasta with the vinaigrette and creamy goat cheese. The combination of the vinaigrette and goat cheese act as the sauce for the pasta and allow you not to have to use any mayo, which if you’ve been reading HBH for sometime now, you know that I am not a mayo person.
Finally, add in some sun-dried tomatoes, white beans, and avocado. Done.
My pasta salad has just a bit more flavors added in than my dads, and while I love dads simple salad, I think mine beats his by just a smidge (wink, wink). The fresh herbs, creamy goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes add so much deliciousness and really make for the perfect bite every time.
Could not love this salad more.
You can serve this warm or cold, but as you might guess, I love this best warm.
If you plan to make this for picnics and want to make the salad ahead of time, just be sure to add the avocado right before serving so it doesn’t brown. Other than that, everything can be made and stored in the fridge for a few days. Then just serve chilled or at room temperature.
Either way, it’s going to be good!
If you make this Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad and love it, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love hearing from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every one of you. Oh, and of course, if you do make this, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram so I can see! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Sun-Dried Tomato, White Bean, and Goat Cheese Pasta
Servings: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 541 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1. To make the vinaigrette. In a blender, combine the olive oil, basil, chives, dill, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and a pinch red pepper flakes until smooth. Taste and adjust salt as needed.2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the asparagus to the water. Drain and add to a serving bowl.4. Toss the hot pasta and asparagus with the goat cheese and a couple large spoonfuls of the basil vinaigrette, toss well until the goat cheese coats the pasta completely. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and white beans, tossing to combine. Top the pasta with avocado. Serve the remaining vinaigrette on the side.
Bring on warm nights and plenty of pasta salad!