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 broccoli 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

Broccoli Pasta Salad Serving Suggestions

As I wrote above, this pasta salad is meant for making ahead, so it’s perfect for bringing to potlucks. If you’re in need of a vegetarian main dish to go with it, try these BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches, my favorite veggie burger, a black bean burger, portobello mushroom dogs, or grilled avocado for a twist!

You could also pack it up in individual portion-sized containers and take it as a main dish for healthy lunches! See this post for my best lunch-packing tips.

Healthy Broccoli Pasta Salad on plates

If you love this broccoli pasta salad…

Try this couscous salad, this broccoli salad, this pasta salad, or this potato salad next!


4.9 from 21 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.

 

58 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Andra
    04.28.2021

    I’m not even vegan but I stumbled across this recipe, stuck to it, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever prepared on my own. Gonna pick another to make next! It was so ridiculously good. I’m not even a pasta salad person but wow!!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.29.2021

      Hi Andrea, welcome! I’m so glad you loved the pasta salad so much!

  2. Barb
    09.14.2020

    I am so glad to have found you Love and Lemons❣️❣️❣️ Just made this and have an empty bowl sitting next to me 🙂 this is my idea of a perfect recipe, I will never go back to my out-dated mayo dressed pasta salad. The tahini dressing is to die for. While I didn’t have green beans, I doubled down on the broccoli and spiralized a large zucchini.
    I think this could be a good recipe to add any fresh crunchy veg that’s in the crisper!
    Thanks again for a perfect recipe – I have a feeling your tahini dressing is going to be showing up frequently.

  3. Rebekka
    09.04.2020

    Very good, I agree the dressing really makes it. I subbed sunflower seeds for pine nuts, and added some red onion instead of SD Toms. I like SD Toms, but didn’t have any. Figured the red onion would provide another pungent flavor.
    Also, didn’t have green beans so I used extra broccoli. I cubed the zucchini which I liked.

    My only criticism would be that I used middle eastern tahini which is thinner and the dressing became more watery than I would have liked. I should have mixed first before I added the water.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.12.2020

      Hi Rebekka, I’m so glad you enjoyed the salad.

  4. Carmen
    03.06.2019

    Love it, your recipes are AWESOME!!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.09.2019

      thanks Carmen!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. Sooperchef.pk
    03.17.2017

    Its Look very healthy recipe. its yummmy. <3

  12. M
    01.04.2017

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

    Medha

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

  14. 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!

  15. Lisa Cox
    08.26.2016

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

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

  17. 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….

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.