Summer dining demands pasta salad! This Primavera Pasta Salad is filled to the brim with veggies and stores well in the fridge, making it the perfect make ahead dish to serve on patios and for potlucks.
What is Primavera Pasta Salad?
Primavera is Italian for spring! A primavera pasta is typically a medley of vibrant spring vegetables either raw or blanched mixed with cooked pasta and a light sauce or dressing. It seems only natural to transform it into a salad, right?
I mean look at this salad?! It’s like eating the rainbow! I chose all the veggies that I know my family loves (I encourage you to do the same), making this an instant crowd pleaser and kid-friendly favourite.
What Pasta is Best for Pasta Salad?
Of course you can use any noodle, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a favourite! Short pasta cuts like macaroni, rotini, farfalle (bow-tie), cavatappi or even penne are great for pasta salad. Their small shape mimics the size of other ingredients, making it easy to eat.
How to Make the Best Pasta Salad
Here are a couple tried-and-true tips of mine to master the best pasta salad, every time.
- Salt your water. Salting your pasta water for cooking pasta is essential. Have you heard the saying that you need to cook your pasta in water “salty as the sea”? It seasons your pasta from the inside out.
- Don’t overcook your pasta! You want it to be al dente or “to the bite”.
- Pick the right pasta. Like I said above, I love using smaller pasta noodles to make it easier to eat!
- Prep ahead (it tastes better). One of the best parts about pasta salad is that it tastes better made in advance! Letting it rest in the fridge allows the flavours to marry together. Yum!
Looking for more simple pasta salad recipes? Here are a couple I love! This Italian Pasta Salad or Grilled Corn Pasta Salad are amazing! Over on Fraiche Table we have this Tortellini Pasta Salad and Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad are also must-tries.
Primavera Pasta Salad
Primavera Pasta Salad
This Primavera Pasta Salad is light, fresh and stores super well in the fridge, making it perfect to make ahead for any occasion big or small.
- 3 cups dry rotini pasta (or similar shape)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 cup grated peeled carrot
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup diced bell pepper
- 1 cup diced tomato
- fresh chopped parsley to garnish
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese to garnish
- salt & pepper to taste
Classic Italian Dressing (makes 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 /2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- pinch salt & pepper
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Toss with the olive oil to coat and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, in a small bowl, whisk together the Classic Italian Dressing ingredients.
Once the pasta is cooled, toss with the red onion, carrot, broccoli, bell pepper, tomato, and the Classic Italian Dressing (to taste). Garnish with the parsley and parmesan cheese. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.