A lemony healthy pasta salad with delicious ingredients such as roasted tomato and zucchini. This greek-style pasta salad recipe has the absolute BEST pasta salad dressing! The basil lemon vinaigrette has two surprising ingredients making this the most yummy pasta salad recipe out there.
I love roasting vegetables, as you may have noticed in recipes such as this halloumi and garlic roasted vegetables salad, baked honey balsamic brussels sprouts, and my latest addition the roasted tomato soup. However, the list doesn’t end there. I know, I might be obsessed with roasted veggies.
But they are SO GOOD. I mean… roasted vegetables get a whole new level of depth in flavor + it’s always super easy cleanup. No one in their right mind says no to roasted veggies. Nor pasta, nor this fabulous pasta salad dressing. Nor this recipe in general, really.
Using whole wheat pasta or even gluten free pasta makes this recipe a healthier pasta salad recipe. It’s not that heavy on the pasta either, because the roasted vegetables are so good you don’t even notice it.
Pasta Salad Recipes are Supposed to be EASY
When it comes to summer recipes, I always like to keep them easy. Minimize time in the kitchen, maximize taste. However, I am not opposed to putting on the oven, although I know many are. This recipe needs roasting the vegetables and cooking the pasta, but that’s about where it stops.
Extremely little hands-on time. So you can sit on the porch while the kitchen makes this easy pasta salad for you. Pasta salads can be made with absolutely anything you have on hand. Add a lot of vegetables, meat, cheeses, nuts, herbs and you’ve got a delicious pasta salad. Add a pasta salad dressing and it’s divine.
It’s very hard to screw up a pasta salad. Good ingredients = good pasta salad. Healthy AND good ingredients makes an even more fabulous and healthy pasta salad. Add and subtract to your own liking.
The BEST and only pasta salad dressing you will ever need
You should have seen me when I first tried this pasta salad dressing. I originally didn’t want to add honey and mustard. But of course I did anyway, and holy dijon, it was so delicious. I wanted the sauce to be creamier than just a regular vinaigrette, but I didn’t want to load it with mayo. That is strange coming from me, as I am a premium mayo lover.
I love the perfect amount of creamy this pasta salad dressing gets from just a tiny blob of dijon mustard. Originally, I was going to put the honey and mustard as optional ingredients, but as I tried it with this healthy pasta salad I quickly crossed that out. You absolutely need this in your life.
To make the basil lemon vinaigrette vegan, swap Dijon mustard with another, vegan friendly mustard and honey with maple syrup. It should still get that sweet and creamy yumminess.
How to make it is simply this: shake. Shake all the ingredients together (remember to put the lid on). And then pour desired amount on to this delicious and healthy pasta salad!
Greek or Mediterranean inspired salad ingredients
Last year I spent my summer in Albania, which is neighbors with Greece. Albania has a lot of the same cuisine, consisting a lot of feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and the like. And the vegetables were of a really high quality. And that inspired this Mediterranean pasta salad.
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- feta cheese
- fresh greens
- pine nuts
- whole wheat pasta
I have however added a few surprises, just to keep things interesting.
How to Make this Healthy Pasta Salad Recipe
If you want this healthy pasta salad to be a cold pasta dish, then you can just begin with cooking pasta as instructions on the packaging. I prefer whole wheat fusilli, but any kind will do.
Prepare veggies. Slice the zucchini into half inch slices and then to half moons. I love to julienne the carrot just for added interest and texture, but you may cut it to any shape. Sometimes I also add sliced onion.
Add the vegetables to a roasting pan, along with garlic, olive oil and a little salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 400F (200C) for 20 minutes. If you want you can add the carrots later (15-16 minutes into the bake time) to keep its bite, but it’s not necessary.
Meanwhile, prepare the salad with your favorite greens, skinned edamame peas, fresh basil, crumbled feta cheese and dry roasted pine nuts. To dry roast pine nuts you add pine nuts to a dry non-stick pan on medium high heat and cook until fragrant. Stir occasionally.
To make the pasta salad dressing you add all the ingredients to a glass or jar with a lid. Shake until combined.
- To serve this dish cold, let the roasted vegetables cool before adding to the rest of the salad (along with cold, cooked pasta).
- To serve it warm, make sure you’ve got freshly cooked, warm pasta and add the roasted vegetables right to the dish. This is my preferred way.
Drizzle over the desired amount of basil lemon vinaigrette. A little goes a long way! Start with 2 tsp and see what you like.
Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Leftovers are best served cold. Not recommended to freeze.
Enjoyed this recipe? Try out these salads too!
- Healthy Baked Lemon Chicken with a Green Spring Salad
- Strawberry Arugula Summer Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Healthy Halloumi Quinoa Salad with Garlic Roasted Vegetables
- Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint
- Middle Eastern Tabbouleh with Quinoa
- Blackberry Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment below or tag me @thegingerwithspice on Instagram. And don’t forget to Pin it for later!
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Healthy Pasta Salad with Tomato and Zucchini
Healthy Pasta Salad
- 5 1/2 oz whole wheat fusilli 160 g. Or your favorite pasta
- 1/2 zucchini half inch half moon slices
- 1 spring onion thinly sliced, optional
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes either whole or cut in half
- 1 carrot julienned
- 3 cloves garlic grated. reserve 1/4 tsp to vinaigrette
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup edamame peas skinned. optional. 4 tbsp
- 3 cups salad e.g. mixed romaine, arugula, spinach, lettuce
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled. 70g
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- fresh basil to garnish, optional
Basil Lemon Vinaigrette
- 1/2 lemon 1 tbsp juice and 1 tsp zest
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp fresh garlic as reserved from above
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp honey or maple syrup for vegan
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard or other mustard for vegan
- 1 tsp fresh basil
- Prepare veggies: Slice the zucchini into half inch slices and then to half moons. I love to julienne the carrot just for added interest and texture, but you may cut it to any shape. Sometimes I also add sliced onion.
- Cook pasta: Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Roast vegetables: Add zucchini, tomatoes, carrot, white parts of the spring onion to a roasting pan, along with garlic, olive oil and a little salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 400F (200C) for 20 minutes. If you want you can add the carrots later (15-16 minutes into the bake time) to keep its bite, but it’s not necessary.
- Prepare salad ingredients: Chop your favorite greens, add to a big bowl along with skinned edamame peas, fresh basil, crumbled feta cheese and dry roasted pine nuts. To dry roast pine nuts you add pine nuts to a dry non-stick pan on medium high heat and cook until fragrant. Swirl the pan.
- Make the vinaigrette: To make the pasta salad dressing you add all the ingredients to a glass or jar with a lid. Shake until combined.
- Serve cold: Wait until both pasta and roasted vegetables are cold before combining.
- Serve hot: Wait with cooking pasta so that it's freshly cooked when the roasted vegetables are done. Drain the pasta and serve rather immediately. My preferred way.
- Drizzle the dressing: Drizzle over the desired amount of basil lemon vinaigrette. A little goes a long way! Start with 2 tsp and see what you like.
Nutrition information based on 2 tsp vinaigrette and 3 cups spinach. Nutrition information is an estimate and is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any specific dietary concerns, please consult with your healthcare practitioner.