The Best Pasta Salad You Will Ever Have in Your Entire Life

It’s a bold statement, but this truly is the best pasta salad ever.

best pasta salad ever

We went to our little cousin’s birthday party last weekend, and while it was a blast to hang out with the fam, swim with Livi and hear her sing “Happy Birthday,” the star of my heart was a pasta salad. Not just any pasta salad. The BEST pasta salad. After a long run and teaching day, it was music to my soul. 

best pasta salad ever

My Uncle Eric is a chef and recently moved here from Florida. He makes the BEST food. For real. He’s a wealth of knowledge and is always teaching me tips and tricks, like how to make a good bolognese or what the heck to do with truffle oil. (For the record, the latter is out of the world drizzled on grilled foccacia with some arugula, salt and pepper.) For the birthday party, he made some beautiful fruit platters and grilled flatbreads, along with the most amazing pasta salad I’ve ever had. 

For a long time, I kind of hated pasta. I now understand what a travesty that was, because after being in Italy, I know how freaking good pasta can be. It needs to be al dente (i.e. not soggy) and well-flavored. If those things happen, it can be pretty insanely amazing.

plain penne pasta

Best Pasta Salad Ever

Best Pasta Salad Ever with Arugula Sundried Tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

For this pasta salad, all you do is combine a few ingredients in a bowl, along with some of your favorite penne. 

best pasta salad ever closeup

Something about the combination of flavors and texturesโ€ฆ well, it was so good I had to make a batch for us to have for dinner and leftover/lunches this week.

Mix a few ingredients into a bowl,

ingredients for best pasta salad ever

After you cook the pasta and run cold water over it -I did 12oz of brown rice penne-

brown rice penne pasta in colander

add to the bowl with the rest of the party. Toss to combine.

Here’s the video how-to for ya, too ๐Ÿ™‚ SO easy and so good!

serving of best pasta salad ever

Insanely easy, and so delicious. Let me know if you give it a try! I especially love it cold out of the fridge ๐Ÿ˜‰

The best pasta salad you will ever have in your life
Serves 8
Really.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. One jar of sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  2. One jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  3. One container of feta cheese
  4. Two fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  5. Two large handfuls of fresh arugula
  6. 1/4 C chopped fresh basil, two heaping tablespoons of basil from a tube, or pesto
  7. Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  8. 8 servings of your favorite penne pasta, cooked al dente in salted, boiling water
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, add the fresh tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, basil or pesto, feta, artichokes and arugula.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
  3. After the pasta is cooked, drain and run cold water over it.
  4. Add the pasta to the bowl and toss to combine. Add additional oil, salt or pepper as needed.
Notes
  1. Add garbanzo beans or animal protein for an extra protein boost!
  2. Stores extremely well in the fridge and tastes even better as leftovers.
The Fitnessista http://fitnessista.com/
Are you a pasta fan or not so much? Any quick and awesome dinner recipes lately?

Hope you have a wonderful day! I’ll see ya later this afternoon with a giveaway ๐Ÿ™‚

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. Papa JB says:

    Not to be picky, but you you have Ziti pasta pictured and you have Penne listed as the pasta of choice. Personally, I prefer Rottini. Spiral pasta just grabs all of those incredible ingredients in each bite. Nice recipe, excellent ingredients.

  2. ilovefetacheese says:

    Haha this is almost identical to a recipe my mom made growing up and its my FAVORITE pasta salad ever. Here is the recipe:

    In a bowl mix:
    1/4 sundried tomatoes (sliced) or sundried tomato paste
    1/4 cup EVOO
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    one block of feta cheese
    1 tbsp. garlic paste
    1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
    2 tbsp. dried parsley (or fresh is better)

    mix up and let “marinade” while one box of your favorite pasta is cooking. Rinse cooked pasta and toss! Serve warm or cold…my favorite is warm right after its made!

  3. Yum ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been making something similar to this with cauliflower “rice” as the base instead of pasta. Perhaps it would even be good with spaghetti squash! (I’m not a big pasta eater if you can’t tell hehe.)

  4. Question! The hosts of the 4th party I’m attending tomorrow are GF, and I’m wondering which GF pasta brands you recommend. I’d love to make this for the party. Thanks!

    • Fitnessista says:

      trader joe’s brown rice pasta is good, but be sure not to overcook it or it gets gummy.

      • If you haven’t tried it yet, you should try Trader Joe’s brown rice and quinoa pasta! It solves the gumminess problem of brown rice pasta and the hard/starchy problem of quinoa pasta. Another reason to love Trader Joe’s ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Melanie LaVergne says:

      Hi. I was in south Florida recently at a restaurant and had GF pasta that almost tasted ‘normal’. I asked what it was and it was the brand ‘Heartland’ and it was a mix of corn and brown rice which I believe made it better than either of those ingredients alone. I came home and ordered a bunch on Amazon as that brand is not carried in my area. First night I made the spaghetti, my 9 year old son said, ‘Wow, this is good!’. Highly recommend it!!

  5. Melissa says:

    Made this pasta salad for my 4th BBQ, it was a hit!! Everyone loved it! I also added black olives….thanks for the recipe, its a new fav!!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Made this as a side for dinner tonightโ€ฆ a huge hit! Thanks for the recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Blossom says:

    I can’t wait to try this. I make a very tasty salad that includes:

    very small size macaroni, i.e. tiny sea shells
    1 lg or two small cans of solid core tuna
    5 hard boiled eggs — sliced
    black sliced olives
    garlic salt or powder
    chopped green onions
    small jar mayo
    can of red kidney beans

    tasts great after it sits a day

  8. Hi Gina! I stumbled across this recipe and tried it out because, well, how could I not make a pasta salad with that title! And you were right…I think it was the best pasta salad I have ever had in my entire life. ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe and others, I enjoy reading your blog! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much for reading, tammy! so thrilled you liked the pasta salad ๐Ÿ™‚ i made a similar version this afternoon. i’ll share it tomorrow!

  9. Just wondering if you remember the sizes of jars you got for the sundried & artichokes? along with the feta? Making it for a party this weekend & I’m not sure what sizes to use!

  10. I made this recipe exactly the way you said, and everyone LOVED IT.
    I added fresh basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil – it was so good that everyone asks me to make this recipe whenever we are getting together. Loved it, thank you!!!

  11. I finally made this salad and am now killing myself for waiting so long!! It is abosutely amazing!!

  12. No vinegar? Mine always gets vinegar a little mayo and smoked paprika! I also like craisins and raw cashews.

  13. I wish you would have exact measurements instead of “one jar/container”. I just made this and it tastes very bland to me. Perhaps my “container” is not the size you used? Pretty disappointed here.

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