This Sun Dried Tomato Pasta shines with fresh summer tomatoes and basil. A sun dried tomato dressing makes it an especially great salad for a picnic! (No mayo here!)

Pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes in a large, white dish


Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad is a Summertime Favorite

This happens every single August.

When we’re in the middle of a heat wave (check!) and I’m swimming in an overabundance of garden tomatoes and basil (check!), we make this Sun Dried Tomato Pasta.

My whole family loves it, even my un-salad husband. Which is definitely a testimony to how wonderful this pasta salad truly is.

This recipe is bursting with summer flavor. And with a sun dried tomato vinaigrette, certainly a great choice for toting along to a picnic.

Our oldest daughter made this pasta salad again just this past week. We packed it in a cooler, along with some fresh fruit and cold drinks. It was one of the most memorable lunches of this summer, as I sat at a picnic table under big ol’ shade trees with our daughters and their friends.

*Here are a few more salad recipes I’m loving right now: This past week, I’ve had two friends text me photos as they’re making this Grilled Vegetable Salad – have you tried it yet?! Our girls are especially fond of this Grilled Chicken and Lemon Orzo Salad. And this Pineapple Fruit Salad makes such a fun (and delicious!) presentation for a special brunch!

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil

This Salad is Great for a Picnic

We can all use a few go-to salad recipes that can stand the heat of a summer picnic. Right?!

Well this pasta salad is one of them, incorporating a beautifully tasty sun dried tomato dressing. No mayo in this one, my friends!

I first made this salad for a friend’s bridal shower many years ago. A bunch of us girls met at St. Croix Vineyards, near Stillwater, MN. We enjoyed some wine tasting in their beautiful old barn, and then a picnic lunch under a canopy of shade trees.

One friend brought a tasty Asian noodle salad and I came bearing this sun dried tomato pasta salad. For the occasion, I girlied it up a bit by using the very pretty campanelle pasta. The salad was a big hit, and I’ve been making it ever since!

a serving bowl of full of pasta in a sun dried tomato dressing, with fresh tomatoes and basil

What Pasta Shape to use for this Pasta Salad Recipe?

Our girls like to use the super fun cavatappi noodles, as my photos show. Its curliness is so much fun.

Rotini would also be a great choice. I just recommend a larger pasta shape – use whatever you like!

How to use Sun Dried Tomatoes

This pasta salad gets a double-dose of sun dried tomato goodness. Chop some sun dried tomatoes and add them to the salad, for chewy bites of flavor and texture. And then blitz a few more sun dried tomatoes into the dressing, using either a blender or an immersion blender. It’s so good!

Pasta salad with tomatoes

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pinterest image of Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta in a bowl

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Yield: 10 servings
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
total time: 35 minutes
This pasta salad recipe lets the abundance of fresh summer produce shine, using fresh tomatoes and basil. It’s a great salad for a picnic!
4.8 Stars (6 Reviews)


for the pasta salad:

  • 1 lb. larger sized pasta – I like to use curly cavatappi pretty campanelle, or rotini
  • kosher salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes quartered
  • ¾ c. kalamata olives pitted and sliced
  • 2 tsp. capers
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella medium-diced (or just use mozzarella pearls.)
  • c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained
  • 1 c. packed fresh basil leaves julienned
  • c. toasted pine nuts optional but highly recommended

for the dressing:

  • ½ c. sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained
  • ¼ c. red wine vinegar
  • c. olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove diced
  • 1 tsp. capers drained
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese


  • For the pasta salad: Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil according to the directions on the package, taking care to not overcook. Pasta should be tender, yet firm. Place pasta in a colander in the sink, and run cold water over it. Drain well and allow to cool.
  • Place pasta in a large bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, capers, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • For the dressing: Combine sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor until almost smooth. If you have an immersion blender, this also works great. 
  • To assemble pasta salad: Pour the dressing over the pasta. Fold to combine. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, basil, and optional pine nuts, and toss well.
  • This salad keeps well, so you can make it early in the day. Add the Parmesan, basil and optional pine nuts just before serving.


adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 Calories: 408kcal Carbohydrates: 27g Protein: 17g Fat: 26g Saturated Fat: 8g Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 35mg Sodium: 1001mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 2g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Spoonacular. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a comment below. And share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #afarmgirlsdabbles or tag @farmgirlsdabble!

If you like this sun dried tomato pasta recipe, you might like:

Here are a few recipes I’d like to try:  Asian Almond Slaw Salad from Aggie’s Kitchen, because I’m always up for a new slaw recipe. Southwest Salad with Avocado Dressing from Recipe GirlAnd this Caribbean Chicken Salad with Mango Dressing from Well Plated by Erin looks delicious!

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta in a bowl
garden tomatoes in a bowl

This post was previously published in 2010. It was updated in 2016, and again in 2018.