Broccoli Pasta Salad

This bright broccoli pasta salad recipe is chock full of fresh veggies and coated with a tangy no-mayo tahini dressing. Perfect for summer picnics!

Broccoli Pasta Salad

This is not your regular pasta salad. In fact, Jack (who is not the biggest fan of traditional pasta salad) said “Omg, this is the best pasta salad!” It’s healthy and packed with lots of veggies, and unlike a lot of pasta salads, it’s light on the mayonnaise – in that it has none. With Memorial Day coming up, I figure you may need a packable potluck salad that won’t spoil if it sits out for a little while. This one, made with a creamy tahini dressing, is just right for that.

Broccoli Pasta Salad Recipe ingredients

How to Make Pasta Salad – the Healthy Way!

  • Bring on the veggies! This pasta salad has a high ratio of veggies to pasta, thanks to the spiralized (or thinly sliced) zucchini. With a pasta-like feel, the zucchini lowers the amount of noodles needed to make this salad satisfying. Plus, blanched broccoli and crunchy green beans add lots of texture, while sun-dried tomatoes and basil add pops of fresh and savory flavor.
  • Make a punchy dressing. Instead of a mayo-based dressing, which is traditional for pasta salad, I made a creamy tahini dressing with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and a touch of Dijon. As a result, this dressing is vegan, but it still has a bright, tangy flavor.
  • Make it dietary restriction-friendly. I find that everyone has some sort of dietary restriction these days (raising my hand just a little), so I used gluten-free fusilli. Consequently, this salad is entirely vegan and gluten free. I think it’s nice to bring a delicious dish that everyone can enjoy to gatherings. Of course, you can use regular pasta if this isn’t a concern for you.
  • Make a big batch! This salad keeps well for several days, so if you make extra ahead of time, you’ll be set with healthy lunches for a week.

Broccoli Pasta Salad Recipe Dressing

Broccoli Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients

This salad is LOADED with good things, including:

  • Blanched broccoli and green beans – They pack this salad with green and add crispy, crunchy texture.
  • Noodles – Because you can’t have pasta salad without pasta, I chose a fun fusilli.
  • Spiralized zucchini – Since I was going for a high veggie to pasta ratio, spiralized zucchini was an obvious choice to add more “noodles” to this salad!
  • Cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes – They have fresh, tangy, umami flavor, and I love their bright red color!
  • Basil – Who doesn’t love basil in the summertime? It adds a nice fresh flavor here.
  • Pine nuts – For crunch!
  • A creamy tahini dressing – This bright, tangy vegan pasta salad dressing ties it all together.

How to make pasta salad

I love all of the pretty, colorful veggies!

Broccoli Pasta Salad Healthy Broccoli Pasta Salad on plates

Want more potluck ideas?

Try these fan favorites!

Enjoy!


4.9 from 14 reviews
Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This healthy broccoli pasta salad is made with a tangy, vegan no-mayo tahini dressing - perfect for summer picnics!
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • 3 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cut green beans
  • 2 cups uncooked gluten free fusilli pasta
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced and cut into half moons (or spiralized)
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon Tahini dressing: (can be made ahead)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more for squeezing at the end
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard, maple syrup, salt and water. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water and a large bowl of ice water. Drop the broccoli and green beans into the boiling water and blanch for 1-2 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Remove and immediately immerse in the ice water to stop the cooking processing. Keep in the ice water long enough to cool completely, about 15 seconds. Then, drain and and place on a kitchen towel to dry.
  3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, basil and the pasta. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and squeezes of lemon, if desired. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and chill for 15 minutes. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Notes
I used Delallo's Gluten-Free Fusilli which is awesome.

 

52 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Linda K
    05.23.2016

    In my opinion, sun-dried tomatoes are the work of the devil. Is there a replacement ingredient that you would suggest? Or will the salad still be delicious if I simply omit them without a replacement? Thank!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.23.2016

      ha, you can just skip them.

    • Jane Triplett
      05.23.2016

      I thought I was the only one who felt that way about sundries tomatoes. Glad I’m not along!!!

      • You are not alone! I’m one of the least picky eaters (growing up in a Russian household will do that to a girl), but this is one of three foods I won’t touch… preach, girls.

        Can’t wait to try this recipe (sans evil sundried tomatoes) as a nice cold summer dinner!

  2. Amy from parsleyinmyteeth.com
    05.23.2016

    Wow – all kinds of deliciousness going on in this pasta salad! And so beautiful. Who could resist this??

  3. Roxana from atreatsaffair.com
    05.23.2016

    That lemon dressing sounds delicious!

  4. Jocelyn
    05.23.2016

    I just made this and the dressing is SOOOO good that I want to bathe in it. I used GF fusilli, but didn’t have all of the same veggies, so I subbed asparagus for zucchini, snap peas for green beans and lemon thyme for basil. I actually love a good quality, moist sundried tomato, but was out so I skipped those, too. You could throw an old shoe in the mix with this dressing and it would still be a winner. THANKS!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.27.2016

      ha, I’m so glad you liked the dressing 😉

  5. What a perfect picnic salad. I like things to be lemony too. Also love the extra tartness and chewiness the sun-dried tomatoes give in this.

  6. I had no idea I was craving pasta salad until I saw this….looks AMAZING! I’ve been making mine similarly for years, lots of veggies, dijon and olive oil dressing, but never found a creamy sub for mayo (can’t stand the stuff). I can’t wait to try this!

  7. pastel6036
    05.26.2016

    This salad is delicious!! The dressing is light and flavorful. Paired it with grilled chicken for a wonderful dinner.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.27.2016

      so glad you liked it!

      • Az
        05.30.2016

        Paired it with a Giada recipe for grilled chicken with basil dressing and did the marinade but not the dressing and it is phenomenal. Thanks.

  8. Bonita
    05.27.2016

    I just made this for lunch & it was amazing…love the dressing & how beautiful it looked, thanks for such a great recipe…Bonita

  9. becky
    05.30.2016

    Thanks for the recipe! It was a hit with my family, including 1 and 4 yr olds! We’re adding this to our list of adaptable recipes for csa season.

  10. Elaine from eatingbyelaine.com
    05.31.2016

    Do you need to cook the zucchini?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.31.2016

      Nope, I just slice it really thin…

  11. Chris
    06.01.2016

    This has inspired me to do a pasta salad. I’m going to change it up a bit though. I’m going to roast the broccoli instead of steaming/boiling (add another layer of flavour), I’m going to steam the green beans (because I don’t like raw green beans), I’m going to add some thinly sliced red onion, sub the zucchini for cucumber (again, don’t love raw zucchini), add some sliced radish for crunch, sub the sun dried tomatoes for some homemade roasted red peppers I have in the freezer and sub the maple syrup for honey (because I’m fresh out of maple syrup). I’m also going with regular pasta because I’m not gluten free! I think this will be a great riff on your recipe!

  12. Stefanie
    06.14.2016

    Hello, thank you so much for this recipe. I am eating it for lunch right now and it tastes amazing!

  13. kristi
    06.14.2016

    I made this recipe for my meal prep this week. I subbed spaghetti squash for the pasta and added chicken. It was divine. I love this blog! All the recipes are so fresh and healthy. Thank you for all the ideas!

  14. Line
    06.15.2016

    Sounds like a great recipe, especially with the dressing 🙂 Green beans are, however, poisonous if not cooked long enough- 10-15 minutes are usually recommended and it can be especially dangerous for children to eat undercooked beans. Please be careful should you bring the salad to a party!

    • Nina
      03.04.2017

      I don’t believe green beans are poisonous uncooked. I’ve never heard that. I’ve been eating them out of the garden since I was a child. Has anyone else heard this?

    • Hailey
      07.13.2018

      Raw green beans are poisonous? 🙂 I don’t think so… I’ve eaten a million straight off the vine with no side effects

  15. Ralph
    06.16.2016

    I made this last night. There are no words to describe how delicioous this salad is.
    It was so good that at one point, I put down the fork and started eating directly from the salad bowl…with my FINGERS!

  16. Tori
    06.17.2016

    Can anyone reccomend a substitution for the tahini? I want to share this with a friends whose child has nut and sesame allergies as the rest of the would be perfect for them. It looks delicious!

  17. Jackie
    06.20.2016

    Delicious recipe! I skipped the zucchini because I’m not crazy about the stuff. I will definitely make again but I think I will use all sun-dried tomatoes instead of the fresh tomatoes, which didn’t taste so great the next day.

  18. Samantha
    06.23.2016

    I made this for meal prep for my husband and I. He’s never been a huge fan of pasta salads and he loved it! Great recipe!

  19. Allie
    06.27.2016

    This was amazing! My husband absolutely loved it as well. The dressing was so creamy, it made the whole dish seem decadent. Loved blanching the veggies too, gave them such a nice texture. We will definitely be making this again….

  20. Green is the main color in every repice, i love it, that lemon dressing sounds delicious!

  21. Lisa Cox
    08.26.2016

    I am a vegetable lover, especially fresh ones in pasta dishes. This is wonderful.

  22. Rachelle
    10.12.2016

    this is literally one of the most delicious things I have made! thank you for the stellar recipe!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.12.2016

      You’re welcome, I’m glad you loved it!! Thanks for commenting!

  23. If only pasta were low in carbs. I’m going to have to try these with spaghetti squash.

  24. M
    01.04.2017

    Which brand of Tahini do you use? The salad looks very yummy.

    Medha

  25. Sooperchef.pk
    03.17.2017

    Its Look very healthy recipe. its yummmy. <3

  26. Valerie
    05.31.2017

    I’ve made this twice for potlucks and both times was asked for the recipe. Both times I’ve added edamame. I love the lemon tahini sauce – easy to make and delicious. I’ve used this sauce in salads and veggie bowls – delicious!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.02.2017

      So happy to hear this one was a hit as well!

  27. ashesandrubies
    02.11.2018

    Deelish! Used only half the garlic and regular pasta, definitely going into the easy weekday rotation for the family and definitely using the dressing in different applications, so creamy and zingy!

  28. Courtney
    06.28.2018

    Thank you for the delicious recipe! I made this because my boyfriend bought a large jar of tahini (despite me not being a super fan of the stuff) and we needed something to make with it. This recipe was perfect! The sauce is very tasty and is the perfect amount for the veggies and pasta: not dry and not drenched.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.28.2018

      Hi Courtney, I’m so glad you both loved it!!

  29. login hotmail
    06.29.2018

    Wonderful!

  30. Joan Pugh
    07.05.2018

    If i were to make this as a main meal, how would you recommend increasing the ingredients? I think it’d make an excellent mason jar meal for lunches for the week!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.05.2018

      Hi Joan, I wouldn’t change anything – depending on your lunch appetite, I’d say this would make 3 to 4 prepped lunches. I hope you love it!

  31. Laura
    02.21.2019

    I made this this week for my husband’s lunches, and he loved it! Unfortunately, it was not until the fourth day that we realized tahini is not necessarily gluten free.
    Unless it is certified gluten-free, the sesame seeds are often roasted with flour. So, just a warning to others who might not know that, double check that your tahini is certified gluten-free!

    we made some alterations as well: we’re not big tomato fans, so left out the tomatoes. We added dried cranberries and some shredded chicken, and replaced the green beans with cauliflower.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.01.2019

      Hi Laura, thanks for the tip. I’m glad your husband loved the recipe!

  32. Wendy
    03.04.2019

    It took several hours to put together this dish and was too bland for my tastes. I tried to save it with a bit more tahini and Dijon, but still bland. My husband said it was good enough to have again, but it’s too much work for the outcome.
    Please keep up making more recipes. I love your site, just not this one.

  33. Carmen
    03.06.2019

    Love it, your recipes are AWESOME!!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.09.2019

      thanks Carmen!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.