Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Let’s talk about pasta salad.  I really do like pasta salad, but I can’t stand when it is smothered in heavy mayonnaise or drowned in a lot of dressing.  I want my pasta salad to be simple with a light dressing to make it interesting.

Pasta salads are the perfect dish to make ahead for gatherings, so of course I made one for my cousin’s baby shower.  I needed items on the menu that I could make after work a day or two before the event.  I have a few other versions of various pasta salads that I’ve made previously, but I wanted to try something new this time around.  I’ve mentioned before the ridiculous amount of basil we have from our garden, so incorporating lots of this herb led me to try this recipe.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

I was really happy with the way this turned out.  It is not too heavy but still flavorful from all the sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.  The tomatoes and mozzarella give this salad some bulk yet it is still on the simple side.  It worked great as a side dish at the shower, but was still satisfying enough to eat the leftovers the following day as a meal.

Yield: 8 servings

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Recipe for sun-dried tomato pasta salad. Filled with cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil!

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Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 (13.25 ounce) box pasta – penne, rotini, etc.
  • 1 ½ pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 16 ounces mozzarella, cubed
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, drained, patted dry and chopped
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped

For the dressing:

  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, add the tomatoes, mozzarella, 5 sun-dried tomatoes and shallot. When the pasta has cooled, add it to the bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. To make the dressing, add the remaining 5 sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Process until almost smooth.
  4. Add the dressing to the bowl with the pasta and top with the Parmesan and basil. Toss to combine.