This is more of a template than a recipe since you can make a fabulous, colorful, and delicious pasta salad with pretty much any kind of roasted vegetables you have on hand. Think about incorporating different colors and perhaps different shapes. You want to cut up all of the vegetables in small pieces, which will blend nicely with the pasta, but those vegetables might be cubed, sliced, chopped, etc.
You can certainly bump up the amount of vegetables if you want. Think about grilled peppers, onions, eggplant, corn, zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, any number of veggies, any combo.
Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad: This is the salad to think of whenever you are grilling up a big batch of veggies – the perfect way to use up leftovers, and the perfect, portable summer side dish.Tweet This
- Grilled vegetables – Use a combo of any of your favorites, from peppers to onions to eggplant to corn — also zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, mushrooms — whatever your heart desires.
- Pasta – You can use any short pasta shape you like, and there are many to choose from. Try rotini, ziti, shells or rigatoni, macaroni, farfalle, ditali, cavatappi, or orecchiette.
- Vinaigrette – You can make your own vinaigrette or just use your favorite bottled salad dressing if you’re in a hurry.
- Parmesan cheese – Think about tossing in a handful of grated Parmesan, which adds a nutty flavor and a nice salty pop.
- Fresh herbs – Adding fresh herbs to whatever dressing you choose is another way to give fresh punch to grilled vegetable pasta salad. Start with about 1 tablespoon, and move up from there, depending on how herby you want it and the potency of the herb(s) you choose. Some good options are basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and dill.
How to Grill Vegetables for Pasta Salad
You have a couple of choices here! You can grill larger pieces of vegetables and then cut them up to make your pasta salad, or you can make grilled vegetable kebabs and then slide them off the skewers and toss them with the pasta and dressing.
How to Cook Pasta for Pasta Salad
Cook the pasta accordingly to the package directions. I prefer fully cooked pasta versus al dente pasta in pasta salads, as I think it’s a better consistency for the cool dish and allows the pasta to absorb the dressing better. Drain, and rinse in a colander with cool water to stop the cooking
Best Dressing for Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
If you have a vinaigrette you love, make it, add a bit more olive oil to soften the acidity, and use that. If you wish to just blend together some olive oil and vinegar, think about a 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar. You want the salad to be tangy but not so heavily dressed that it gets soggy. Also, make sure the dressing is not overly acidic, which will mask the lovely flavor of the vegetables.
You can also add a few tablespoons of mayo to your pasta salad dressing if you are looking for a creamier pasta salad. Or, you can use a mayo-based dressing for a fully creamy pasta salad. Another option is to blend a few tablespoons of pesto with some additional dressing and use that to toss with the pasta and vegetables.
Pasta Salad Dressing Suggestions
- Classic Vinaigrette
- Creamy Cilantro Dressing
- Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Ranch Dressing
- Tzatziki Vinaigrette
- Tarragon Vinaigrette
- Citrus, Honey, and Thyme Vinaigrette
How to Make Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Toss and serve: Combine the veggies, pasta, vinaigrette, seasonings, Parmesan, and herbs in a large bowl. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Make-Ahead and Leftovers
The vegetables can be grilled ahead of time and kept for up to 4 days in a container in the fridge. The whole pasta salad can be assembled and refrigerated for 2 days before serving, and leftovers can be stored for the same amount of time. Bring to room temperature before serving.
What to Serve With Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
More Pasta Salad Recipes
- Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Salad
- Mayo-Free Vegan Pasta Salad
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Tortellini Pasta Salad
- BLT Pasta Salad
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Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad
- 2 pounds grilled vegetables (such as eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, scallions, bell pepper, asparagus and onions)
- 1 pound short, dried pasta (such as rotini, ziti, shells or rigatoni)
- ½ cup vinaigrette (homemade or store-bought; see Note for Suggestions)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan (optional)
- Chopped fresh herbs (such as basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, and dill; optional)
- Grill the vegetables of your choice accordingly to these guidelines. Cut them as needed to create bite-sized pieces.
- Cook the pasta accordingly to package directions, and once fully cooked (I prefer fully cooked pasta vs. al dente pasta in pasta salads), drain and rinse in a colander with cool water to stop the cooking.
- In a large bowl, combine the cut-up grilled vegetables, cooked and cooled pasta, and vinaigrette, plus the olive oil, salt and pepper as needed, and Parmesan and fresh herbs if using. Serve cool or at room temperature.
- If you want to go in a creamy dressing vs. a vinaigrette, there are options for both here.
- You can use roasted vegetables instead of grilled vegetables for a cold-weather version of this salad.
- Try adding crumbled feta or goat cheese instead of the Parmesan – add anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup.
- Add a handful of pepita seeds for a nice little crunch.
- The vegetables can be grilled ahead of time and kept for up to 4 days in a container in the fridge. The whole pasta salad can be assembled and refrigerated for 2 days before serving, and leftovers can be stored for the same amount of time. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.