The ultimate winning 3-Step Cold Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing recipe! Made with gluten free Rotini pasta noodles, cucumbers, goat cheese and tomatoes. Easy steps for a quick, healthy, gluten free and kid friendly dinner (no onions)!
Pasta recipes are one of my favorite meals to make when I need something quick and healthy for my family. Most of the time it involves boiling water and cooking noodles that are later bathed in Italian marinara sauce or pesto sauce. After the noodles are ready I toss them with as many sauteed peppers, zucchini, garlic and onion that I can get my little hands on. Sometimes a can of cannellini beans is thrown into the mix and the dish is sprinkled with freshly ground Parmesan cheese.
That is the warm version of one of the many pasta recipes that can be made. Not to be confused with a cold pasta salad recipe such as tortellini pasta salad or bowtie pasta salad.
My mom made this delicious cold pasta salad with Italian dressing for us while we were visiting her a couple of weeks ago. I’ve said before, easy pasta salad recipes are awesome and I am so glad my mom introduced me to them. By the way, sorry about my delay in posts since I am trying to be super consistent and post 2-3 times per week. Hey, its summer and I am a mommy:-) We were visiting family in July and moved the following week we got back! I absolutely love our new space but it does take a while to unpack…. um, especially with two little ones roaming around. Finally I am feeling settled and creative again to get back in our routine.
So back to this pasta salad with Italian dressing. Why is it so spectacular anyways? For one, do you want to save tons of time fussing over what food to bring to a party or picnic? Have meals ready to grab and go for the week? Then this will surely become one of your favorite new dishes!
What is so fantastic about this well balanced salad is that healthy salads do not always have to be served with lettuce and fresh greens. Cold pasta salad, broccoli salads and coleslaw recipes are all made with freshly chopped vegetables and tossed with various versions of a delicious dressing. Some are a mayonnaise base and others are made with an olive oil and vinegar base.
I encourage you to feel super confident if you don’t like to cook here. Because any vegetables can be tossed into your pasta salad with Italian dressing.
Do you prefer meat in your pasta salad? Feel free to switch the goat cheese to provolone and salami squares for an Italian pasta salad recipe. My mom and I use goat cheese for its mild tangy and tart creamy flavor and it is easier on the gut, which is especially good for those who are sensitive to lactose or experience congestion after eating dairy. (Ahem… hubby, that is you!)
Here is how to make pasta salad:
First: Boil the noodles according to package directions and set aside.
Second: Rinse, chop and prepare all vegetables such as cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes and onion. Set aside until ready to mix with the pasta when the noodles have cooled.
Third: In a giant bowl mix cooled pasta noodles, prepared vegetables, goat cheese crumbles and 1 cup of Italian dressing.
I love to mix this in a giant Pyrex mixing bowl then put the lid on and give it a good shake to mix everything together. Then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
A cold pasta salad such as this with Italian dressing can be made ahead of time. It is meant to be served cold. Serve as a party dish for a summer potluck or winter gathering! A healthy and light refreshing dish!
Picky eaters love this cold pasta salad and my kids adore this recipe because they can pick out the pieces they prefer if they do not want the whole mix. Broccoli is still in season and tomatoes until September so now is the perfect time to make this pasta salad with Italian dressing!
- 3 cups of uncooked gluten free Rotini pasta noodles
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- 2 cups grape tomatoes
- 1½ cups chopped broccoli
- 1 large cucumber
- 8 ounce container of crumbled goat cheese
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup of Italian Dressing (or more to taste)
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile remove the skins of the cucumber and slice lengthwise. Place two halves flat and slice again so you have 4 long slivers. Slice the slivers into small cucumber chunks.
- Rinse grape tomatoes and set a side. Peel carrots and then grate the carrots. Put in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the cooled Rotini noodles, cucumber slices, grated carrots, grape tomatoes, and goat cheese crumbles. Add 1 cup of Italian dressing. Combine well and garnish with freshly ground black pepper and serve cold.
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