Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette

In Cheese, Lunch, Mains, Pasta, Salad, Sides, Stovetop, Sugar-Free, Vegetarian by Mandi Flake2 Comments

Pasta Salad often conjures up ideas of mayo-covered mysteries at a potluck. Now, don’t get me wrong, I grew up with a midwestern mother and as such, have a deep affection for mayo. However, I do take issue when mayo is used to cover up food or is the only source of flavor in a dish (the latter often being the very downfall of most pasta salads). So today, I’m bringing you a pasta salad that is more SALAD than anything else – just a flavorful, filling salad that happens to have pasta incorporated.

Pasta Salad Ingredients

This recipe was inspired by a Real Simple magazine I read during my dark years… That is the years I spent obsessed with a 24/7 high-stress job. During that period I was often chained to my desk by the various crises that inevitably arose, and lunch, dinner, and sometimes even breakfast was coming out of a vending machine or to go bag. Let me tell you, not the best diet for your waistline (or mood). I’m not one for sandwiches, so packed lunches were something of a strain, especially since I hadn’t figured out yet how much I could love cooking (you can read more about that revelation on my Why I Cook page).  Then I stumbled across a “grown-up” brown-bag lunch recipe at Real Simple. It’s light, tasty, portable, and best of all, it can be made one serving at a time.

Pasta Salad

In the version I’m sharing with you below, I’ve amped up the flavor a few notches, as I find it more filling and satisfying, but either my version or Real Simple’s can be a fantastic side or lunch. You can even make it up the day before, but put the vinaigrette on right before serving, so your greens don’t wilt.

Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette

The recipe below is enough for one person's lunch or two side servings, so multiply as needed.

15 minCook Time

15 minTotal Time

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  • 1 handful of arugula (and/or spinach)
  • 1 handful of gemelli pasta
  • 3 small tomatoes (I like grape or campari)
  • 5 kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mozzarella (go for the small pieces packed in water or oil so you don't have to chop)
  • hard salami (my vote: don't go for the sliced stuff at the deli counter, instead get a whole chunk of it to chop into chunks yourself)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • fresh ground salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, quarter the tomatoes, pit the olives, chop the cheese, and slice the salami.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, vinegars and salt and pepper.
  4. Once the pasta is done cooking, rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking and drain. Let the pasta cool so that it doesn't wilt your greens.
  5. Toss everything in a medium bowl and enjoy!



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