Learn to prepare this lemon pasta salad using pantry staples in a few easy steps. Bursting with flavor, this zesty recipe will be hard to resist at the dinner table!
It is perfect for a light lunch or dinner and is easily customizable.
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- Why this recipe works
- Ingredients needed
- How to make a lemon pasta salad
- Tips to make the best recipe
- Flavor variations
- Storage instructions
- More salad recipes to try
- Frequently asked questions
- Lemon Pasta Salad
Why this recipe works
- Quick. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.
- Versatile. It is great as a stand-alone dish, or you can couple it up with your favorite meal like a sandwich or even bbq.
- Nutritious. Fresh vegetables, wholegrain carbs, and healthy fats…what more could you need?
What I like most about this recipe is that it is great to make it in advance. You can refrigerate it for the whole week to enjoy with meals or bring it to a potluck or barbecue.
Besides the pasta, vegetables, and some seasonings, there isn’t much else in this recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Pasta. I used penne pasta, but any pasta works.
- Bell peppers. Chopped.
- Onions. Diced.
- Cucumber. Cut in cubes
- Garlic. Minced.
- Cherry tomatoes. Halved.
- Dill. Tarragon can be used as well.
- Parmesan cheese. Nutritional yeast is a fantastic substitute if you need this pasta to be dairy free.
- Honey. Adds a sweet element to this salad.
- Mustard. Acts as an emulsifier and helps the dressing to have a smooth consistency.
- Lemon juice. For a tangy flavor.
- Olive oil. Or any other neutral flavored oil.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
How to make a lemon pasta salad
In just four simple steps, you can make a healthy lemon pasta salad:
Step 1: Boil pasta
In a boiling pot, add ample salt to the water and bring it to a boil. Now add the pasta to boiling water and boil as per instructions on the package. After boiling, put the pasta aside, allowing it to cool.
Step 2: Prepare the dressing
In a mixing bowl, add the mustard, honey, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper before mixing it till everything is well combined.
Step 3: Setup the salad
Add the cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, parmesan cheese, dill, onion, cucumbers and pasta in a large bowl. Drizzle with some dressing and mix well.
Step 4: Toss and serve
Once properly cooled, drizzle with the rest of the dressing and give it a light toss before serving it.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Be sure to add the ingredients when the pasta cools to room temperature. Don’t let it completely cool off, or it won’t absorb as much flavor.
- Add fresh chopped dill to get a refreshing citrus and minty flavor, complimenting the lemon pasta salad.
- For the best taste, allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
The beauty of this salad is just how easy it is to customize. Here are some ideas:
- Use different cheeses. Mozzarella, Swiss, or shaved gouda all work well.
- Add pine nuts. You can add pine nuts for a sweet and nutty crunch in each bite.
- Use another sweet element. Replace honey with maple syrup to achieve an even sweeter taste.
To store. Store it in your fridge using a food container for up to 4 days.
To freeze. Avoid freezing the salad as it is. You can, however, freeze the pre-cooked pasta.
More salad recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Should you make pasta salad the night before?
Yes, you can. That’s a great way to let the pasta marinate and absorb as much flavour from the dressing as possible.
How do you fix bland pasta salad?
The easiest fix for bland pasta salad is to season it some more and give it an additional splash of dressing.
Should you overcook pasta for pasta salad?
Since the pasta won’t be cooked in some sauce for the second time, it is better to cook the pasta perfectly tender on the outside and a little chewy in the middle.
Lemon Pasta Salad
- 2 cups Pasta I used Buckwheat Spirals
- 2 small Broccoli trimmed and chopped
- 3/4 cup Green Beans chopped
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 8 Basil leaves thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup Parsley chopped
- 1/3 cup Sun Dried Tomatoes drained
- 1 tsp Salt and Pepper to taste
For Tahini Lemon Dressing:
- 4 tablespoons Tahini
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 zest Lemon
- 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Agave Nectar
- 1/3 cup warm Water
- 1 teaspoons Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- Prepare a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Salt liberally and then blanche your Broccoli and Green Beans for 2 minutes or until just tender. Drain and immerse in a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. Drain again and set aside.
- Bring another pot of water to the boil and once again, salt liberally. Boil pasta according to directions on packet, until al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the Tahini Lemon dressing till smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine your cooked and drained Pasta with your Broccoli, Green beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Sun-Dried Tomato strips, Basil and Parsley.
- Pour dressing over and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust for levels of Salt and Pepper.
- Enjoy at room temperature, or leave leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight box for a nice packed lunch at work the next day.