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 textures… 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 🙂 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 😉


The best pasta salad you will ever have in your life


  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20


  • One jar of sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • One jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • One container of feta cheese
  • Two fresh tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • Two large handfuls of fresh arugula
  • 1/4 C chopped fresh basil, two heaping tablespoons of basil from a tube, or pesto
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 servings of your favorite penne pasta, cooked al dente in salted, boiling water


  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.


  • Add garbanzo beans or animal protein for an extra protein boost!
  • Stores extremely well in the fridge and tastes even better as leftovers.


  • Serving Size: 8

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 🙂



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  1. Papa JB on June 8, 2014 at 2:50 am

    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.

    • dan on October 28, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      i don’t see the nutritional information listed anywhere.. can you tell me where i can find it..

  2. ilovefetacheese on July 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

    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. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on July 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Yum 🙂 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. Kim M. on July 3, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    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 on July 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm

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

      • Mia on July 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

        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 🙂

        • Fitnessista on July 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

          happening. thank you!

    • Melanie LaVergne on April 17, 2015 at 9:37 am

      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 on July 5, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    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 on July 9, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Made this as a side for dinner tonight… a huge hit! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  7. Blossom on July 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    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. Tammy on August 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    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. 😀 Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe and others, I enjoy reading your blog! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 19, 2014 at 6:40 pm

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

  9. Katie on May 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    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!

    • Fitnessista on May 20, 2015 at 4:29 pm

      they were the jars from trader joe’s. the tomatoes are 8.5 oz

  10. MK on May 24, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    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!!!

    • Fitnessista on May 25, 2015 at 11:27 pm

      so glad you liked it!!

  11. Amy M on June 14, 2015 at 12:37 pm

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

  12. Marc on February 11, 2016 at 7:20 am

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

  13. Yasmin on August 7, 2016 at 5:05 am

    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.

  14. Deborah on July 15, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Gina, i have made before and LOVE this. Two questions, how far in advance can I make this and do you know
    how many ounces are in a serving. Want to make for 30 people. Thinking 2 1/2 times the recipe would be perfect.

    • Fitnessista on July 15, 2019 at 10:16 pm

      I would do it the day before, but no earlier because the noodles can get a little chewy/weird. 2 1/2 times the recipe should be perfect! so happy you like it 😉

  15. Rose on May 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    Just made this and it’s chilling in the fridge while we make chicken on the grill to mark the first summery weekend here. Thanks for this recipe! From a few “tester” bites already know it’s living up to the name.

  16. Dianne on May 20, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    Nutrition info please – calories etc

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