· · · · · · ·

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy

This easy Gluten-Free Pasta Salad recipe is made with colorful veggies, layers of flavor, and a quick homemade dressing you’re SURE to love! (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Overhead view of a bowl of gluten-free pasta salad with italian dressing

Pasta salad used to be my requested birthday dinner when I was little. I loved the tricolor pasta my mom used, and the yummy flavors all melded together. There’s just so much to love about a good pasta salad recipe! That’s why it was one of the first gluten-free recipes we knew we needed after going gluten-free. We’ve been making it ever since, in all sorts of variations over the years!

The perfect side dish for a summer picnic, barbecue, or cookout, or a light dinner on a hot night, this easy gluten-free pasta salad recipe is always a winner during the summer months. I love the blend of tender gluten-free pasta, colorful fresh vegetables, layers of flavor, and a bright homemade Italian dressing to tie it all together. It’s the perfect easy recipe to make when it’s just too hot to cook

Here are the simple ingredients you need to make our easy gluten-free pasta salad…

Overhead view of ingredients for gluten-free pasta salad
Overhead view of a large bowl of gluten-free pasta salad with Italian dressing

Simple Ingredients To Start

The best part about a recipe like this is how simple the ingredients list is. Let’s take a look:

  • Gluten-Free Pasta. First, you’ll obviously need some gluten-free pasta. Our go-to gluten-free pasta for pasta salad is Jovial brand brown rice pasta. I like small shapes, like gluten-free rotini, the little spirals, since they help hold onto the dressing.
  • Chickpeas. Drained, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) add an extra layer of protein. If you’re not a fan of beans, you can leave them out, but I love what they add to the salad.
  • Cucumbers. English cucumbers have great texture and don’t need to be peeled. I love how fresh they are.
  • Baby Tomatoes. If you can find them, try a mix of colors! Yellow, red, and orange cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes can make this salad look so colorful!
  • Salami & Pepperoni. My kids love this mix. Feel free to use just one or the other (or leave them out for a vegetarian/vegan version!).
  • Olives. I grew up with black olives in my pasta salad. As an adult, I love kalamata olives or even green Castelvetrano olives. Use whatever variety you like, just make sure they’re pitted.
  • Peperoncinis. These mild pickled yellow peppers add a bright vinegary tang. I love them!
  • Red Onion or Green Onion. Finely minced red onions or some sliced green onion add a subtle layer of flavor.
  • Fresh Herbs. If you like (and I almost always do!), you can add a little fresh basil. It adds such brightness to this gluten-free Italian pasta salad!
  • Our Easy Italian Dressing. I like to make my gluten-free pasta salad without mayo, so we finish this salad with our zesty homemade Italian dressing.

How To Make Gluten-Free Pasta Salad, Step By Step

As always, you can find the full recipe with ingredient amounts, detailed instructions, and tips in the recipe card below!

  1. Start By Cooking The Pasta. Cook your pasta in a large pot according to the package instructions, making sure that the pasta is soft rather than al dente (with a little bite), since gluten-free pasta hardens up a bit when cold. Drain & cool the pasta a bit by rinsing with cold water.
  2. While The Pasta Cooks, Mix Up Your Dressing. In a mason jar or small bowl, combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine well and set aside. (Dressing can be made in advance and will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.)
  3. Assemble The Pasta Salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, salami, pepperoni, olives, peperoncinis, onion, and basil, if using.
  4. Add The Dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine & coat everything with dressing. Chill until ready to serve. (Pasta salad will keep 2-3 days in the fridge.)

More Yummy Mix-Ins To Try

Now that you know how to make our classic pasta salad, let’s talk about extras & variations! When you’re craving a change of pace, we recommend adding:

  • Cheese. Bite-sized pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese or a little grated Parmesan cheese can be great in this salad, if you tolerate dairy! Or, you can try some crumbled feta cheese.
  • Arugula. I love a layer of green in this salad, so sometimes I tuck in some peppery arugula. If you’re serving kids, this may be too strong for them.
  • Bell Peppers. Add some diced bell peppers! I like yellow, orange or red bell pepper for another layer of color.
  • Grated Carrots. Sometimes, I love to add grated carrots. They add a pretty color and satisfying crunch!
  • Broccoli Or Cauliflower. If you like them, feel free to add these crunchy veggies.
  • Artichoke Hearts. Jarred artichokes are a yummy addition!
Overhead view of a bowl of gluten-free pasta salad with italian dressing

FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The Best Gluten-Free Pasta Salad:

What’s The Best Gluten-Free Pasta For Pasta Salad? We’ve tried LOTS of brands, but we keep coming back to Jovial brown rice pasta. I love the texture, whether it’s warm or cold, which makes it great for cold pasta salad.

How Do You Keep Gluten-Free Pasta Salad From Getting Hard? I find the trick is cooking the pasta *just* past al dente. You want to be actually soft (not mushy, just no bite left). Then, keep adding dressing! The pasta noodles will absorb dressing as they sit, and adding another drizzle before eating leftovers will help soften the noodles.

Food Safety Tip. If you’re serving this delicious pasta salad at a summer bbq, keep in mind that it should be out at room temperature no longer than 2 hours. Try to keep the salad chilled when possible, for best results. 

Overhead view of a large bowl of gluten-free pasta salad with Italian dressing

WE SUGGEST:

⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star rating below when you make our Gluten-Free Pasta Salad recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Overhead view of a bowl of gluten-free pasta salad with italian dressing

Gluten-Free Pasta Salad


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Emily Dixon, One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This easy pasta salad recipe is made with colorful veggies, layers of flavor, and a quick homemade dressing you’re SURE to love! (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


Ingredients

Scale

For The Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or, to taste)

For The Gluten-Free Pasta Salad:

  • 12 oz. gluten-free spiral pasta (rotini or fusilli)*
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sliced cucumbers (I prefer English cucumber)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 oz. diced salami
  • 3 oz. pepperoni
  • 1/31/2 cup sliced olives
  • 1/3 cup peperoncini (mild!)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion or 12 sliced green onions
  • Optional: 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into ribbons

Instructions

  1. Start By Cooking The Pasta. Cook your pasta according to the package directions, making sure that the pasta is soft rather than al dente (with a little bite), since gluten-free pasta hardens up a bit when cold. Drain & cool the pasta a bit by rinsing with cold water.
  2. While The Pasta Cooks, Mix Up Your Dressing. In a mason jar or small mixing bowl, combine lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine well and set aside. (Dressing can be made in advance and will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.)
  3. Assemble The Gluten-Free Pasta Salad. In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, salami, pepperoni, olives, peperoncinis, onion, and basil, if using.
  4. Add The Dressing. Drizzle half of the dressing over the salad and gently toss to combine & coat everything with dressing, adding more as desired. Chill until ready to serve & if the salad has absorbed the dressing, add a bit more before serving. Store leftover pasta salad in an airtight container in the fridge 2-3 days.

Notes

  • Pasta: Our favorite brand of gluten-free pasta for pasta salad is Jovial brown rice pasta. It works great here and stays soft even when the salad is chilled!
  • Food Safety Tip. If you’re serving this delicious pasta salad at a summer bbq, keep in mind that it should be out at room temperature no longer than 2 hours. Try to keep the salad chilled when possible, for best results. 
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star