This fast and simple sundried tomato pasta salad is ready in 15 minutes and makes a wonderful lunch or dinner! It is easy to carry in a box and will be a highlight of your work lunches or picnics! This recipe is great for parties and will do well as an appetizer too.
Key Ingredients for Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad
For this delicious salad with sundried tomatoes and pasta, you will need mainly basic pantry staples, such as:
- Short dried pasta – shapes like fusilli, farfalle, penne, rigatoni, orecchiette, conchiglie etc are all good for this recipe. Use wholemeal pasta if possible, for an extra portion of fiber, and valuable vitamins and minerals (iron, magnesium and more).
- Sundried tomatoes – preferably ones in a jar, which do not need rehydrating before cooking. Sundried tomatoes are incredibly flavourful and rich on vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a great source of protein, fibre, vitamin B3, C, K, but also manganese, and potassium and many more valuable nutrients.
- Red, yellow or orange bell pepper provides this salad with bright colour and they are also bursting with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. This superfood helps prevent blood clots and regulate blood pressure, supports our immune system, digestion, and is beneficial for eyesight.
- Cucumber – this green vegetable has several health benefits. Its high water content helps you stay hydrated, whilst the fibre in it helps you feel fuller after a meal and supports your digestion. Cucumbers are also good for your vision, skin, immunity and maintaining blood sugar levels.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese – for extra protein and creamy flavour. Grate it or dice it – the cheese will be a delicious addition to this pasta salad either way.
The dressing makes this salad even more delightful. Plus it's using up the oil from the jar and helps you reduce waste. It is a very simple blend of:
- Fresh basil and oregano – these two aromatic herbs are very popular in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, and around the world. Use their fresh leaves for more aroma and flavour.
- Black pepper – to add a bit more depth to the taste.
- Oil – to help the flavours of this pasta salad to come together and to help the body make the most of the vitamins soluble in fat. Use the one from the jar of sundried tomatoes.
- Fresh lemon juice – to lift up flavours, add a bit of tanginess and help prevent vegetables in this recipe from a process called oxidation (turning brown).
- Dry-packed sundried tomatoes – use same amount as you would of their wet version. Pre-soak them in boiling water for about 30 minutes before making this recipe, drain them well before adding to the salad.
- Pickled gherkins instead of fresh cucumber– drain and pat dry.
- White wine vinegar – instead of lemon juice, 1:1 ratio.
- Dried basil and oregano – make sure they are fully coated in the dressing, which helps them to soften up.
- Use feta cheese for a creamier but saltier taste.
- Optional: Olive oil – if using dry sundried tomatoes.
How to Make This Pasta Salad
For this pasta salad, you only need basic kitchen equipment: a chopping board, kitchen knife, large stock (pasta) pot, large mixing bowl, wooden spoon and a colander.
This refreshing summer salad can be made in a few easy steps:
- Cook the pasta.
- Chop the vegetables and cheese.
- Prepare the dressing.
- Mix everything together, sprinkle with some extra herbs and serve.
As always, for detailed instructions and measurements, please make sure you read the recipe card at the very end of this post.
What To Serve This Pasta Salad With & Variations
This sundried tomato pasta can be served as a starter (appetiser; with a slice of crispy toasted bread or baguette) or as a side with a main course.
Feel free to swap or add some of the ingredients. This salad is very versatile and can be easily adjusted according to what you have on hand or what is currently in season.
Here are some tips on different flavour variations:
- Make it Greek-ish by adding feta cheese, sliced olives and finely chopped onion.
- Have it with crispy grilled chicken.
- To speed up the cooking process, use fresh pasta.
- For extra flavour, use pre-made tortellini. Spinach and ricotta, tomato or cheese fillings will work very well in this salad.
- Jarred sundried tomatoes often contain a lot of sugar and salt, so use them wisely and stick to the recommended dosage. You will still be able to enjoy all the delicious flavours without the dish being too overpowering.
This pasta salad with vegetables and sun-dried tomatoes will keep fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Finally, it is not suitable for freezing.
If you are using jarred sun-dried tomatoes, you will probably have some leftover after making this pasta salad. They can be used as an appetiser (see also following question). Sun-dried tomatoes can be served with sliced fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (Caprese salad). Alternatively, make a homemade red pesto by blending the sundried tomatoes with pine nuts, garlic clove, black pepper and parmesan cheese.
Yes, you can! They make a brilliant starter (antipasti). Just leave them to rest on a kitchen towel to remove any excess oil, serve them in a small bowl, sprinkle with some fresh basil leaves, and serve with some (toasted) bread.
Yes, after opening, jarred sundried tomatoes need to be kept in the fridge. They will last for a minimum of two weeks after opening. Use them for a variety of recipes, from homemade red pesto to Caprese salad.
It is recommended to soak dry-packed sundried tomatoes, as they can be otherwise too hard to chew. Put them in a heat-proof dish, and cover with boiling water and leave to soak for at least 30 minutes. This will help rehydrate them quicker. Drain and pat dry before adding to a meal.
📖 The Recipe
Sundried Tomato Pasta Salad
- 300 g short dried pasta
- 75 g sundried tomatoes in (olive) oil
- 1 red pepper or yellow or orange pepper
- ½ cucumber
- 1 fresh mozzarella drained
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice (½ lemon)
- 1 handful fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 handful fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta following the instructions on the pack until it is al-dente (soft on the edges but slightly hard in the middle). Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside (keep in a colander to remove any excess water).
- Wash, pat dry and cut the vegetables into 1cm dices.
- Drain the sundried tomatoes above a bowl, keeping the (olive) oil for use in the salad’s dressing. Slice the sundried tomatoes.
- To make the dressing, wash, pat dry and finely chop the fresh herbs and add them to the bowl with the leftover oil, keeping some of the herbs aside for serving. Add lemon juice and black pepper.
- In a large missing bowl, mix the pasta, chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly. Add the dressing and cheese and toss again.
- Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and serve.
- Dry-packed sundried tomatoes – 1:1 ratio, soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes and drain well before adding to the salad, remember to add 2 tablespoon of olive oil,
- Pickled gherkins instead of fresh cucumber,
- White wine vinegar – for lemon juice, 1:1 ratio,
- Dried basil and oregano,
- Feta cheese.