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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 😉

Print

The best pasta salad you will ever have in your life

Really.

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

Ingredients

  • 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

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

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

Nutrition

  • 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 🙂

xoxo

Gina

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82 Comments

  1. Ali on October 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I have been making a version of this with kalamata olives instead of artichokes for years and it is beyond my favorite pasta salad! I sometimes add chicken as well. It’s so easy for a quick weeknight meal too! I think it’s been too long since I’ve had it… 🙂

  2. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on October 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Easy to make and looks DELICIOUS! It is going in my book of recipes!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jenny on October 3, 2013 at 10:50 am

    This looks phenom! Thanks for sharing! I LOVE pasta salad and often forget about making it – it is such an easy thing to throw together and enjoy all week. I love the variation of stuff you put in yours, can’t wait to try it out! 🙂

  4. Ali on October 3, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I think arugula is my favourite green. So spicy and fresh! Happy you are digging the pasta now a days, <3

  5. Captain Competition on October 3, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Those are some great ingredients for pasta salad, love sundried tomatoes! Just add bacon and you have perfection (bacon makes everything better right?)

  6. Amanda on October 3, 2013 at 10:53 am

    This looks amazing!! I just pinned it, and I’m totally making it this weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Jess on October 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    This post has made me hungry!! Looks amazing!

  8. Lora lee frazier on October 3, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Truffle oil and salt or garlic salt is excellent on popcorn. I had it in Charleston at a restaurant and have since recreated it at home ( after finding truffle oil spray at TJ Maxx-awesome!).

    • Fitnessista on October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

      DUDE. i’m on it

      • Lisa G on October 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm

        Yes it is addicting! Do it.

  9. C. on October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

    This looks delicious! Adding it to my menu for this month. I do love pasta but it I don’t make it that often. Last night I made an eggplant lasagna recipe from the NY Times – I highly recommend it! (Using no-boil noodles makes it simple!)

    • Fitnessista on October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

      that sounds wonderful!

    • Kelly on October 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      I love eggplant or vege lasagnes! I’m sooo going to google the NY times recipe!

      Gina, this recipe looks amazeballs. I often don’t think I like sundried tomatos but am going to give another shot in this recipe because I love everything else about it. I love pasta but try not too make too often because of carbs. During the week, this would be good on top of a mild lettuce as a salad topper! Thanks!

  10. Lisa on October 3, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I can’t even remember the last time I had pasta salad, but this looks super great!
    The artichoke hearts are such a great addition! I love those things.

  11. Erika on October 3, 2013 at 10:59 am

    You could also use the oil from the sun dried tomatoes instead of adding additional evoo..this way it’s already slightly flavored.

    • Fitnessista on October 3, 2013 at 11:00 am

      totally!

  12. RachelG on October 3, 2013 at 10:59 am

    You are inspiring the pants off of me for the visit from my parents this weekend! 🙂

  13. Kalynn on October 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    This pasta salad sounds delicious! Question, though…did you drain the jars of sun dried tomatoes and artichokes or dump them in oil and all?

    • Fitnessista on October 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

      i drained them! i should add that in there, huh?

  14. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on October 3, 2013 at 11:07 am

    You had me at pasta. Love, love, love!

  15. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on October 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I need to try this!! Omg it sounds amazing!

  16. Bree on October 3, 2013 at 11:26 am

    OMG Gina! You went to Italy?!?!!? I had not idea. Please do tell us more about ITALY!!111!!

  17. Shoshana on October 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Just curious, what size jars are you using for the sundried tomatoes and the artichoke hearts? And what size container of feta?

    Thanks! Looks absolutely delicious.

  18. Robin Vernon on October 3, 2013 at 11:34 am

    oh my goodness Gina, will you please post on Pinterest so I can pin it?

  19. Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite on October 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I’m a sucker for pasta salad. Thinking of making this (or some version of this) for tailgating this weekend!!

  20. megan on October 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Love the arugula in the salad! Lately I have been throwing boneless skinless chicken tenders into the crock pot in the morning with homeade barbeque sauce. It is soo tender and easily shreds to perfection when I get home. I throw it in a wrap or on top of salads – perfect lunch for a few days!

  21. Alex @ Kenzie Life on October 3, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I love pasta salads! That’s my favorite way to eat pasta actually, otherwise it’s not my favorite. I can’t wait to try this!

  22. april on October 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    no lie, this really does look like the best pasta salad ever! =)

  23. Kathy on October 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    MOSTLY, this sounds fantastic. But I am the weird person who thinks sun dried tomatoes taste like death. Suggestions for a replacement??

    • Tabi on October 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      With ya on that one! You aren’t alone 😉

  24. Cassie Vaughn on October 3, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Do you think it would be worth trying if I had to skip the cheese (allergy)?

  25. Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food on October 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Oh my goodness, you are speaking my language! I put tomatoes and feta cheese in everything. I’m definitely making this!

  26. Jennifer on October 3, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Love!! You could use these same ingredients and mix with cooked spaghetti squash – it’s good warm or as chilled leftovers. Great with melty goat cheese.
    Great post, thank you!

  27. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on October 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Wow that really does look amazing! I love how simple it is, but I can imagine that the flavors are just fantastic together. My mom recently made a simple pasta with sun dried tomatoes, tuna, and broccoli, and we all loved it! I know we would love this recipe too 🙂

  28. Taylor @ Single-tracked Mind on October 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    This looks SO GOOD! Love anything with the sundried tomato/artichoke combination. Definitely something to bring to a potluck or BBQ!

  29. Anna @ Fitness à la Anna on October 3, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I am a HUGE fan of pasta salad that actually has salad in it! I have a similar recipe here: http://fitnessalaanna.blogspot.ca/2013/08/pasta-salad.html

  30. Erin @ The Almond Eater on October 3, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    This looks perfect! I am obsessed with sundried tomatoes–adding them to a pasta salad would make it THAT much better.

  31. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on October 3, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Sounds so simple & delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  32. Gretchen on October 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    That looks so good! Also, psst…I think those noodles you used look like rigatoni

  33. Bonnie on October 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Looks delish! Where is your fave brown rice pasta from? TJ’s? Thanks!

  34. Allison @ Train Eat Repeat on October 3, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Oh yum!!
    I love pasta, I just try not to eat it too much. But its soo good!

  35. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on October 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I love the added greens to this pasta salad! And sun dried tomatoes.

    One of my favourite pizzas I’ve ever had (in a restaurant) was a Wild Mushroom w/ Truffle Oil. It was amazing, and I keep meaning to recreate it.

  36. Shira on October 3, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    This looks awesome..except I haaate arugala! I have no idea why, but I can’t even eat mixed greens because if I get a piece in my mouth I literally start gaggingI Weird, eh.. This would be perfect for me with spinach I think and maybe cous cous. I am like you and not a huge pasta person. Though in the past 4 years being with my boyfriend and his Italian family.. lets just say I’ve eaten plenty 😉 It’s ALL about the texture (not mushy blechh) and the sauce!

    Oh and lately I’ve been digging through your older posts for work outs and I’ve found SO many gems.. you rock! 🙂

  37. Laura on October 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Hmm sounds good, pasta is not my favorite for my tummy what about quinoa and goat cheese to substitute? If so than that my work for my packed lunches one week!

  38. Alissa on October 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Lunch for next week is FOUND!! Thank your uncle so much! My husband saw the pictures, and wanted to know if I would make that ASAP for him!

  39. Meg @ A Dash of Meg on October 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    all flavours i love! will definitely try this! thanks love xo

  40. Kathy on October 3, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    We’re hooked lately on “taco rice”…I cook brown and black rice in the rice cooker with taco seasoning. Once it’s cooked, I add: diced green and red peppers, jalapenos and beans and serve it topped with shredded cheese, guacamole, diced green onions and sour cream. So filling and delicious. This pasta salad looks amazing! Definitely going to give it a go!

  41. Shaina Anderson on October 3, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    that looks amazing! I’m not a huuuuge pasta salad fan, but I could eat some of my great-grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs all. night. long. She’s fresh off the boat, so that might have something to do with it. 🙂

    (also, don’t mind me…I’ll just be commenting on the last 327 posts I’ve missed haha)

  42. Asuma on October 4, 2013 at 2:30 am

    That sounds delicious!!! Anything with feta and sun-dried tomato, I know it’s already right up my alley 😀 I love pasta but I have so much of a negative association with it, it’s still one of my “danger” foods 🙁

  43. Allison (Ms. Whirlwind) on October 4, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Any way you can get the size of those jars and containers? I want to try the recipe, but I have Costco-sized jars and packages of those ingredients and I think the proportions would be way off if I tried to use those! 😉

  44. Alisa on October 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Looks great! Does this keep well? Also, what size container feta did you use?

  45. Danica @ It's Progression on October 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    This looks fantastic, and just so simple!
    What size container of feta cheese did you use?

  46. Laura B on October 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Sounds delish! Will have to give it a try. I’m glad your eyes have been opened to the goodness if pasta. 🙂 I love pasta, but only when it’s cooked well. Just a drizzle of olive oil, salt and Italian season is all I need.

  47. Heather on October 7, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I made this today; its delicious!

  48. Amie on November 9, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Did u use GF pasta?

    • Fitnessista on November 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      yes, brown rice pasta from trader joe’s

  49. Brigette on November 9, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    I just made it today for the first time and wanted to let you know that you are absolutely right, best pasta salad ever…thank you for sharing! 🙂

  50. ms win on February 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    what size jars??

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