Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
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!)
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!
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!
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!
Pin this recipe to save it for later!
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
- 3/4 c. kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 2 tsp. capers
- 1 lb. fresh mozzarella, medium-diced (or just use mozzarella pearls.)
- 1/3 c. chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1 c. packed fresh basil leaves, julienned
- 1/3 c. toasted pine nuts, optional but highly recommended
for the dressing:
- 1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, diced
- 1 tsp. capers, drained
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 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”
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 1001mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 17g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.
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 Girl. And this Caribbean Chicken Salad with Mango Dressing from Well Plated by Erin looks delicious!
This post was previously published in 2010. It was updated in 2016, and again in 2018.