Pasta has always been my go-to comfort food, and this Quinoa Pasta Salad recipe is a particular favorite of mine. I've been making this recipe for years, and I think it is just the kind of dish that you should learn to make by heart. It isn't particularly fussy, so feel free to play with the vegetables and use whatever you have on hand.
This Quinoa Pasta Salad Deserves to Become a Habit!
It is no secret that I love pasta, and this Quinoa Pasta Salad has always been a particular favorite of mine. There was one summer where I made this salad no less than once a week - it is that good.
It is quick to make and flavor backed. This salad is ripe for riffs, so feel free to play around with it using whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Make sure you have a little extra dressing on hand should you need it. I tend to add a splash of either dressing or straight balsamic vinegar on top of my pasta right when I serve it.
How to Make Quinoa Pasta Salad
1 First, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and immediately toss with dressing or olive oil. (Don’t skip my tips on preparing quinoa pasta if you are new to working with it.)
2 Next, while the pasta is cooking, chop your peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, red onion, and oregano. If you haven’t already, make your balsamic vinaigrette.
3 After that, place the cooked quinoa (if you are using), peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, red onion, capers, and oregano in a large bowl.
4 Finally, toss with the desired amount of dressing. Season with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will this recipe last in the refrigerator?
You can expect this recipe to act for two to three days in the refrigerator. I recommend reserving some of the dressing and tossing it with a bit more just before serving. If you don’t have any more balsamic dressing, a drizzle of olive oil does the trick!
Can you eat quinoa pasta cold?
No. I don’t recommend eating it (or any gluten-free pasta) straight from the refrigerator. Gluten-free pasta is firmer than traditional pasta when it is cold. The texture will benefit if you let it come to room temperature before serving.
What veggies are good in pasta salad?
In addition to the options in this recipe, some other to consider are:
- Baby Spinach
How can I add protein to this recipe?
Good options include:
- Beans - garbanzo, black beans, white beans, navy beans, pinto beans
- Cooked diced ham
- Cooked diced chicken breast
- Hard-boiled eggs
Tips and Tricks for Cooking Quinoa Pasta
- Don’t forget to salt the water! All pasta benefits from being salted, and quinoa pasta is no exception. I recommend a tablespoon-and-a-half for every 8 ounces of pasta. It should taste like the ocean.
- Make sure you don’t overcook it! I recommend going for the shortest time recommended on the box. Taste, and cook longer only if it is still crunchy.
- When you add it to the boiling water, don’t forget to stir it! If you don’t, some of it is going to stick.
- The water is going to foam a bit. You may need to turn down the temperature to keep it from over-boiling.
- Toss it with the dressing as soon as you drain it. This step will prevent it from drying out. If you aren’t ready to toss with the dressing, toss it with oil right away.
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Brands of Quinoa Pasta
- When I can find it, Andean Dream is one of my favorites because, in addition to being non-GMO, it is also corn-free. (I love corn, but have learned that I can be a sensitive to it.) In my opinion, it holds beautifully once cooked. Sometimes you can find it at Whole Foods.
- Ancient Harvest also offers a non-GMO variety, and it is fabulous. I typically can find it locally, which is a huge plus. The only downside for those that are sensitive is that it does contain corn.
- GoGo Quinoa offers a vegan option that is both non-GMO and corn free. It is good quality, but typically I can only find it online.
If You Like This Recipe You May Also Like:
- Healthy doesn't get much tastier than this Brussels Sprouts Salad. It is beautiful on your table and perfect for entertaining!
- This Veggie Quinoa Pasta Recipe is infinitely adaptable as you cook through the seasons.
- Pasta with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce is a deliciously easy fall recipe that you will turn to again and again.
Quinoa Pasta Salad
- Mixing Bowls
- 12 ounces quinoa pasta or other gluten free pasta
- 2 cups cooked red quinoa optional
- 2 bell peppers any color, cut into strips
- 1 cup black olives chopped
- 1 cup artichoke hearts chopped
- 1 red onion sliced
- 2 tablespoons capers chopped
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¾ cup balsamic vinegar dressing more or less to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and immediately toss with a couple tablespoons of dressing or olive oil.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine quinoa, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, olives, artichoke hearts, red onion and capers.
- Add oregano and the desired amount of balsamic vinegar dressing. Toss well and salt and pepper to taste.