Broccoli Pasta Salad, a tasty, filling, and healthy pasta salad. This recipe is so easy to make and is perfect for bringing to potlucks, BBQs and for filling school lunch boxes!
Broccoli Pasta Salad
This is the season for BBQs, potlucks, and dinners al fresco. And what’s better than a quick and easy pasta salad to bring along to a BBQ. They are so easy to make and everybody loves them. This Broccoli Pasta Salad is super tasty, it’s so easy to make and is ready in under 30 minutes. It’s packed with broccoli, tomatoes, feta and healthy dressing, no mayo here! This pasta salad is slightly healthier than most others. The dressing is ready in two minutes and adds a lovely zesty zing to this broccoli pasta.
How to Make Broccoli Pasta Salad:
- Cook the Pasta, bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, then rinse it under a very cold tap. Add it to a large serving bowl. Toast the pine nuts while the pasta is cooking.
- Make the Dressing, this couldn’t be easier! Add the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, mustard and maple syrup to a bowl or jug and stir well. Then whisk in the extra virgin olive oil one tablespoon at a time. Add your seasoning at the end and you’re done.
- Blanch the broccoli, bring another saucepan of water to the boil, drop in the broccoli, leave for two minutes then remove it. Drop it into a large bowl of ice cold water. This will immediately stop the broccoli from cooking.
- Toss the salad, add the vegetables, basil, pine nuts and feta to the pasta. Pour over the dressing then toss gently. Serve!
I use rigatoni for this recipe, I like how chunky it is and that it’s hollow so the dressing gets right into the pasta. Penne, fusilli or bowtie pasta would also be great in this. And if you want you could use whole wheat pasta too, I’ve used all of these to make this broccoli pasta salad and they were all great.
The clue is in the name here, this is a broccoli pasta salad so I use a small head of fresh broccoli for this. Pasta salads are really flexible though so other vegetables will work well in this too. Asparagus and courgette are also very good in this. I also use the smaller cherry tomatoes as they are perfect for this pasta salad. I like the kick you get from red onion but some of you may find that a bit harsh if you do just sub them for a bunch of spring onions (scallions).
Feta is my cheese of choice for this, it adds a lovely creaminess which works very well against the broccoli. A good mature cheddar is great in this too are large slivers of vegetarian parmesan.
The dressing for this pasta salad is zesty and full of flavour, with just a hint of garlic. As for all good dressings a good extra virgin oil is essential. I added red wine vinegar and lemon juice for acidity, maple syrup for a little sweetness and garlic to lift the whole thing up. This dressing is great for salads too, so it’s a handy one to know how to make.
Serve it up!
This broccoli pasta salad is great warm or cold. It is really good as one of your cold vegetarian side dishes for any BBQ you may be having. However, it is also really great as a meal on its own, we like to have it for lunch or dinner and my daughter loves it as a packed lunch for school.
Storing your Pasta Salad & Making it Ahead of Time
I don’t recommend freezing this pasta salad, but any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you leave the cheese out it may last longer, just keep an eye on the broccoli, sad, soggy broccoli will not make anyone happy. You can make the dressing a day ahead of time and you could cook the pasta ahead of time too. But honestly, this comes together so quickly I would make it fresh on the day, it will taste better too!
More Pasta Salad Recipes:
Broccoli Pasta Salad
For the Pasta Salad
- 3 cups rigatoni pasta (260g)
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets (220g)
- 1/2 medium red onion (65g or 1/2 cup) finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pinenuts (30g)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (180g) cut in half
- 1/2 cup feta cheese (80g) cut into some cubes
- A small handful basil leaves
For the Dressing
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking make the dressing.Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to a mixing bowl or jug. Stir in 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, one minced clove of garlic and the salt and pepper.Then whisk in the extra virgin olive oil one tablespoon at a time.Once the oil is incorporated, leave the dressing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
- Fill another saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Have a large bowl ready filled with ice cold water.Drop the broccoli florets into the boiling water, remove after 2 minutes and drop the broccoli into the ice-cold water.Remove from the cold water and set aside until the pasta is ready.Drain the cooked pasta then run it under a very cold tap.
- Tip the pasta into a large serving dish. Add the tomatoes, red onion, basil, broccoli and feta.
Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables then toss gently with a large serving spoon.Season with a little salt and pepper if you wish then serve,
- Nutritional information is approximate and is calculated using an online tool. The information provided is based on a serving of 4 as a main meal and includes the dressing.
- If you would like to make this gluten free then just sub the pasta for your favourite gluten-free pasta.
- To make this pasta salad vegan all you need to do is omit the feta, you could add more veggies if you wish to bulk this up more.
- I used rigatoni pasta but penne, fusilli or any similar pasta will work well too. Whole wheat pasta is also great for this too.
- Pasta salads are really flexible so a lot of vegetables will go well in this. Vegetables we have tried and have worked really well are blanched asparagus, raw courgettes, raw yellow peppers and cucumber.
- Feta cheese is my choice of cheese for this pasta salad however we have also enjoyed cheddar and vegetarian parmesan in this too. separately, not all together!