Today’s recipe is a Fresh Vegetarian Pasta Salad Recipe. Refreshing and Simple Summer Vegetable Salad recipe with whole wheat fussili pasta and a light dressing.
I love salad recipes that can feed a crowd and make a wholesome lunch for two. This pasta salad recipe just does that!
Without all the heavy cream or dressing, this can be made with basic ingredients from your refrigerator and pantry.
If you are looking for easy vegetarian recipes for potluck during summers, I highly recommend this pasta salad over heavy deep fried snacks and rice recipes. Best part is, you can go crazy with the vegetables, add lettuce greens etc to make it even more crunchy.
Frankly apart from boiling the pasta and a little bit of chopping, there isn’t much time you will be spending in the kitchen for dishing out this salad.
For the whole wheat pasta salad, I have combined a mix of vegetables that were available in the refrigerator, dry Italian herbs and Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer.
You can add a variety of vegetables to this salad and/or Cheese. I make use of whatever is available in the refrigerator. This salad is really great when you have couple of ingredients in the refrigerator and want to cook a meal for two.
Salads should be comfortable to eat. I personally don’t like stuffing my mouth with a big lettuce leaf. Chopping plays a key role in salads.
For Pasta, sliced vegetables and some chopped bits helps so that they can be easily eaten with a fork. For lentils, beans like chickpeas etc, chop your vegetables into small cubes so that they can be eaten with a spoon.
This recipe is ideal as “meal for two”. Makes a filling lunch and / or dinner meal. My husband and I and prefer recipes that make little or no leftovers. This salad recipe is perfect!
I have added some Microgreens to this recipe made with coriander seeds. I grow 2-3 varieties of microgreens at home and use them up in salads. High in nutrition and health.
Growing microgreens in a pot is super simple. In about a week you get a whole bunch of microgreens that you can use in your salads. The crunch and freshness they add to the salads is amazing!
Step by Step Recipe – Vegetarian Pasta Salad
Whole Wheat Fussili Pasta
Water (Boiling Water + salt) for cooking the whole wheat pasta.
Pasta should be cooked al dente (with a bite).
Drain the water, rinse it with tap water to stop the cooking process and set aside to drain.
Add a tsp of oil and mix so that pasta is non-sticky while the rest of the ingredients are being chopped.
Ingredients chopped and prepped for the salad
Mix the ingredients in a wide bowl so that it is easy to toss / mix.
Add the seasonings, herbs, lemon juice. Toss well.
Add the paneer or cottage cheese to the salad mix and a handful of microgreens (optional)
Variations to Pasta Salad
- Add a bunch of chopped or torn iceberg lettuce leaves or romaine lettuce leaves to this bowl of salad.
- You can serve the salad in lettuce cups for a party at home.
- Add feta cheese and some oven toasted croutons for the crunch.
- If you are conscious about your carb intake, you can also add Air Fryer Roasted Chickpeas to the salad instead of the croutons.
- Alternatively, you can add black beans, kidney beans too.
- This salad can be refrigerated and served as cold pasta salad.
- Alternatively, during winters, it can be served as warm pasta by prepping the vegetables, herbs and dressing and adding the cooked pasta at the end.
- If you like, you can add some grilled paneer bits to it instead of finely chopped cubes.
- Lemon Juice can be replaced with balsamic vinegar.
- You can use fresh or frozen paneer for the recipe. For frozen paneer, thaw it and then crumble, in case you are unable to chop them in small chunks.
FAQ’S / Additional Notes –
Is the Pasta Gluten Free?
No, I have used whole wheat fusilli pasta for the recipe, you can add gluten free pasta. Soba Noodles or buckwheat noodles also make a great replacement for fusilli.
Is the recipe Vegan?
No, I have added paneer or Indian cottage cheese. You can replace it with vegan cheese or simply skip it if you like. Additionally, boiled chickpeas make a great plant based protein alternative to paneer.
How Can I prevent the salad from getting soggy?
Always add the dressing and the herbs just before serving. Always prep salads and keep it refrigerated (vegetables) until you are ready to serve.
How do I make this salad for a crowd?
For serving 5 people, I recommend 3 handful portions of dry pasta. Or you could go for 100 gms per person too. If you aim at reducing the carbs, stick to 3 cups of cooked pasta and go crazy with the vegetables.
Can I make ahead the Pasta Salad?
Yes, the best part about this salad is that you can prep it in advance. Chop all the vegetables, except onions and stock it in the refrigerator. Boil the pasta, drain and add a tsp of oil, mix and then store it in the refrigerator. The pasta will not dry out and will be non-sticky.
If you are looking for similar light salad recipes, do check out the below recipes on the blog.
Salad Recipes on blog
- Sprouts Salad Recipe (made with Mung Bean sprouts)
- Khamang Kakdi (Cucumber peanut salad)
- Corn Salad (No Oil Salad)
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with Amaranth
Fresh Vegetarian Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 cup Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta (heaped cup) 1 cup is 200 ml measurement
- 4 cups Water (for boiling pasta)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- Salt to taste Check notes
- 3/4 cup Steamed Corn (Corn steamed with turmeric powder and salt)
- 3/4 cup Chopped Capsicum
- 2 nos. Tomatoes (thinly sliced) Read Notes
- 1 nos. Onion sliced or chopped as required
- 50 gms Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese cubed
- Handful of Microgreens (optional)
- SALAD DRESSING INGREDIENTS
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Dry Basil Herb Check notes below
- 1 tsp Dry Oregano Check notes below
- 1/2 tsp Red chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper Powder
- Juice of half a lime
- Salt to taste
- Boil water in a vessel and add salt. The water should be salty so that the pasta doesn't taste bland post cooking.
- Add a heaped cup of pasta to the boiling water and allow it to cook until al dente (pasta with a bite)
- Drain the water, allow the pasta to cool in a bowl and drizzle some olive oil to prevent it from drying.
- In the meanwhile, prepare all the ingredients for the pasta.
- Boil or steam corn and keep aside. I have steamed corn in fridge always. I steam it with some turmeric powder and salt for that vibrant yellow colour.
- Slice onions, Chop tomatoes, capsicum or bell peppers and keep aside.
- Wash the microgreens and allow it to dry on a kitchen towel.
- Chop paneer into small cubes.
- In a big bowl, add the cooked pasta along with vegetables, paneer, corn and some microgreens. Sprinkle some salt to taste, dry basil powder, oregano, red chilli flakes, black pepper powder and juice of half a lemon.
- Drizzle 1 tbsp of Olive oil and toss well. Serve immediately garnished with some microgreens.
- While boiling water for pasta, ensure the water is salty else cooked pasta will taste bland. Taste and check the water before adding the pasta for cooking.
- In case of tomatoes – You can either slice or chop them as required. You can also scoop out the seeds too if you don’t prefer seeds in salad. If you have cherry tomatoes in stock, you can use that too by slicing it into 2.
- I grow a variety of microgreens at home and add it to salads or sprouts. These Microgreens are made with coriander seeds. Just snip them, give it a good rinse in the colander and add it to salads. No need to cook. They are crunchy and full of water, nutrition. It is optional, add only, if readily available.
- Since fresh herbs are not accessible all the time, I have used all the dry herbs from the pantry. Please feel free to add fresh herbs.
- Quantity of red chilli flakes and black pepper powder can be adjusted according to preference.
- I have used paneer or Indian Cottage cheese as it was readily available in the refrigerator. You can add crumbled feta cheese or any cheese you prefer to the recipe.
- Feel free to add a variety of vegetables in the salad. Also, the quantity need not be limited to 3/4 cup as stated in the recipe. Go crazy with vegetables and/or pasta.
- This salad recipe is for 2 as lunch. If serving as appetizer, it can be sufficient for 4 people.
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