Summer vegetable pasta salad is the perfect addition to your next warm weather picnic or barbecue. Tossed in a homemade vinaigrette dressing, this vegan pasta salad is filled with fresh summer produce like zucchini, summer squash, bell pepper, tomatoes, and corn.
Make a batch of summer vegetable pasta salad for your next summer cookout or party. It's filled with seasonal produce, rotini pasta, and a homemade vinaigrette dressing. Easy, fresh, light, and flavorful!
Plus, this pasta salad can be prepared a day ahead of an event or party, freeing up your time on the big day. Perfect for Fourth of July, summer picnics, barbecues, or big family dinners.
If you like tortellini and pasta salad, check out my summer tortellini salad, made with fresh basil and feta cheese!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Pasta - You'll need 16 ounces of dried (uncooked) pasta for this recipe. Rotini is a classic choice, but any medium sized pasta will work. Macaroni, farfalle (bow ties), or penne are great options.
- Summer vegetables - For this recipe, I used fresh summer squash, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, red onion, green bell pepper, and corn (can be canned, frozen, or cut fresh from the cob). Feel free to substitute with your favorite vegetables, like cucumber, shredded/diced carrot, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and olives.
- Olive oil - Extra virgin olive oil is a great choice for homemade dressings.
- Red wine vinegar - Can be substituted with apple cider vinegar if needed.
- Seasoning - Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes add flavor to your homemade vinaigrette. If you don't have an Italian seasoning blend on hand, this can be substituted with equal parts of your favorite dried herbs, like basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
What else can be added to your pasta salad? Here are a few ideas:
- Cubed cheese
- Shredded cheese
- Crumbled feta cheese
- Shredded carrot
This recipe includes directions to make a classic vinaigrette dressing made with oil, vinegar, and seasoning. If you don't like vinaigrette dressing, you're welcome to use eight ounces of your favorite bottled dressing, like Italian dressing, ranch dressing, or thousand island dressing - choose a flavor that you enjoy.
Can pasta salad be made ahead?
Summer vegetable pasta salad is a great recipe to make ahead and store before an event or party. I recommend making your pasta salad at least 2 to 3 hours ahead of time to chill in the refrigerator and allow flavors to meld.
Storage and serving
Pasta salad will keep for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. However, fresh produce degrades over time. Pasta salad with fresh veggies looks and tastes best when served within 1 day of preparing.
Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces rotini pasta, uncooked
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small zucchini, cubed
- 1 small summer squash, cubed
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 cup corn
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook rotini according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta is room temperature.
- Place pasta in a large bowl with cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, bell pepper, onion, and corn. Set aside.
- In a bowl, add olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. Pour over pasta salad ingredients and toss until evenly coated.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to chill and allow flavors to meld.
- Prepared pasta salad will keep for 3 to 4 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator, but will have best flavor and appearance if served within the first day.
- Pasta salad will continue to soak up dressing as it sits. If it begins to look dry, feel free to toss in additional oil and vinegar.
- Optional additions/substitutions: sliced olives, cubed cucumber, shredded carrot, shredded/cubed mozzarella or cheddar cheese, crumbled feta cheese.