This Summer Pasta Salad has an incredible, homemade Cilantro Ranch dressing that’s super easy to make and is loaded with lots of fresh vegetables, nuts and cheese, too. Keep your kitchen cool. 🙂 Add rotisserie chicken if you like, I do!
Summer Pasta Salad
One can never have too many salad ideas and this is a fantastic side dish for summer time.
I love the twisted Gimelli pasta, but feel free to use whatever you prefer. This doesn’t take long to put together and in the time you boil the pasta you can prep the fresh tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and corn.
What makes this salad sing for me is the dressing.
I like to use my Ranch dressing recipe, or store bought, and pop it in my blender along with a bunch of cilantro. Whiz it up and toss with the pasta. The flavor is wonderful and admittedly rather addictive.
What goes in this summer pasta salad?
Lots of fresh, chopped vegetables. I also like to top this salad with pumpkin seeds, marinated red onion slices and cotija cheese crumbles.
For other salad ideas check out:
- Pineapple Shrimp Barley Salad
With quick pan fried shrimp and an Asian flavored dressing, this Pineapple Shrimp Barley Salad is fresh, healthy and fills you up without fattening you up!
- Thunderbird Salad
Where Thunderbird Salad gets it’s name is still a mystery to me, but when you have chilled iceberg lettuce, bleu cheese, raisins, lemon and bacon I am in!
- Broccoli Salad
This cold Broccoli Salad with Tarragon dressing has raisins, marinated red onion and roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s an amazing, tangy, crunchy salad.
- Grilled Corn Salad with Hazelnuts
A fantastic summer time Grilled Corn Salad with Hazelnuts is a great one for potlucks and BBQs. The citrus, mint and tarragon vinaigrette makes it!
- Honey Mustard Sweet Potato Salad
This Honey Mustard Sweet Potato Salad is made with with spiralized sweet potatoes, zucchini and shaved brussels sprouts in a bacon honey mustard dressing.
Summer Pasta Salad
- 16 oz gemelli pasta
- 12 oz mini tomatoes (gold, yellow and red) slice in half lengthwise
- 1 cup corn kernels (See Note 1)
- 1/2 red bell pepper thin half inch slices
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper thin half inch slices
- 1 zucchini thin half inch slices
- 1 cup Ranch dressing
- 1 bunch cilantro (See Note 2)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (salted and roasted)
- 1/2 cup Cotija cheese
- marinated red onion slices (See Note 3)
- Slice the vegetables and set aside.
- In a large pot over high heat bring heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 12 minutes. Drain the cooked pasta and place in a large salad bowl.
- In a blender add the Ranch dressing and cilantro leaves only. Purée until blended and set aside.
- Add the dressing, pepper and sliced vegetables to the cooled pasta and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour to chill.
- Toss the salad again and season to taste. Serve with marinated red onion slices, cotija cheese crumbles and pumpkin seeds.
- You can use freshly grilled cut off 1 or 2 ears of corn, canned or frozen.
- Rinse and twist all the leaves off the bunch of cilantro, discard the stems. This should be a little over 1 cup or 1 1/2 cup total.
- One of this salad’s ingredients, the sliced red onion in rice wine vinegar, is treated to a quick pickle prior for the salad. I like to keep this mixture on hand in my refrigerator for different salads and as a garnish on Mexican dishes. Simply thinly slice a red onion, cover it with rice wine vinegar and keep in your refrigerator. For this I would suggest allowing the onions to marinate at least 30 minutes if you don’t have any on hand.