Somewhere Over the Rainbow Pasta Salad

Are you ready for a totally over the top, super fun, infinitely customizable pasta salad? Then you've come to the right place! I pretty much live for giant salad platters like this, and I have a feeling I'll be making this one again and again all summer long.

This salad originated during a very chilly, snowy Vermont spring. I was feeling the need for some springy colors, and I certainly wasn't finding them outside. On top of that, I had a fridge full of random stuff due to haphazard COVID-19 shopping sprees. All of the sudden, I realized that I had something (or numerous somethings) of every color in the fridge. The epic rainbow salad was born.

The beauty of this salad is that it's just a concept; you can take the idea and run with it however you like. As long as you have some colorful produce, there are no rules. Try to find a couple different ingredients for every color, arrange it how you like, and have fun! It's sort of like a salad art project.

A couple hints to make this as delicious as possible. First, I love a mixture of raw and grilled produce; it makes salads so interesting. I suggest trying to pick some things you'll grill, some things you'll leave raw, and some things that can be treated both ways (for example, I have both grilled and raw red bell pepper here). Second, texture! A salad is so much more exciting with a mix of soft, chewy, juicy, crisp, and crunchy things. You can easily achieve that with a variety of produce coupled with nuts, seeds, or dried fruit.

The dressing is just this amazing nutty tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. It's rich, delicately sweet, and so summery with the lemon. Tip: double the recipe and put it on everything.

This salad definitely wouldn't be complete without the luscious, lemony tahini dressing. I'm partnering with Seeds of Collaboration to bring you this salad because I've recently become completely obsessed in their tahini. It's the most delicate, sweet, nutty tahini I've ever tasted; it's not the least bit bitter, which is so often the case with other tahini I've tried. I highly recommend getting yourself some, it will change your tahini world.

Good news- I can help you do that! Use the code ROGUE at check-out and save yourself 20% (which means tahini on everything!!). I have lots of tahini recipes here on the blog to get you started.

I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that this isn't what most people think of as a "pasta salad". There just isn't very much pasta! But personally speaking, I much prefer a lot of veggies with a little bit of pasta rather than the inverse. This is something you can easily tweak though; just change up the ratios to reflect how you like to eat. Bonus points for colorful pasta! Your favorite lentil or chick pea pasta would work great here too.

Have fun with this! It's meant to be silly and whimsical, so use what you love and make it your own.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram. 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Seeds of Collaboration. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running. 

I love a giant platter of salad! If you do too, check out this Loaded Mediterranean Salad, it's equally as fun to put together.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)

For the Salad
  • Pasta. Use whatever you love. I adore this cute multi-colored squiggly pasta (Trader Joe's!) because it fits in so well with the theme.
  • Red things. Shown above: grilled and raw red pepper, grape tomatoes, almonds. Other ideas: strawberries, beets.
  • Orange things. Shown above: raw orange pepper. Other ideas: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, orange tomatoes.
  • Yellow things. Shown above: grilled delicata squash, grilled corn, raw yellow pepper. Other ideas: yellow carrots, wax beans, yellow tomatoes, yellow beets.
  • Green things. Shown above: grilled green beans, grilled brussel sprouts, raw brussel sprout leaves, pistachios, pepitas. Other ideas: asparagus, green pepper, green cabbage, green grapes.
  • Blue things. Shown above: blueberries.
  • Purple things. Shown above: radicchio, blackberries. Other ideas: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple sweet potato, purple grapes, purple carrots.
For the Dressing
  • 3-4 tbsp tahini. Seeds of Collaboration is my new greatest love! Remember to use the code ROGUE at check-out to get 20% off.
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Dash of maple syrup. Start with a teaspoon and add more if you want.
  • Generous sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Grill the veggies that you're planning to cook. These could include squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, asparagus, green beans, brussel sprouts, corn, etc. Remember that, at least for certain veggies (e.g. peppers), you can have some grilled and some raw for an interesting contrast in textures and flavors. You may need to work in batches. Let them cool to room temperature before you assemble the salad.
  2. Cook your pasta according to the package directions. When the pasta is done, drain it and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss it in a bit of olive oil so that it doesn't stick together.
  3. Prep your raw ingredients as needed by rinsing, slicing, etc. These could include cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, berries, etc.
  4. Make your dressing by whisking together the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Taste it and adjust as necessary to get your desired flavor and thickness.
  5. Assemble! As shown above, I like to lay this salad out on a big platter so that there's more surface area to play with. I've show it here with it with individual colors grouped together in stripes, but you could just as easily do segments around a round platter or another creative pattern. If you have colored pasta, you can group it with veggies of the same color.
  6. Drizzle it all with some tahini dressing, then serve additional dressing on the side.
  7. NOTE: I wouldn't suggest assembling this salad more than an hour or two in advance of serving; so many ingredients together doesn't work for great long-term storage in the fridge. If you want to get a jump on this though, prep all of your ingredients ahead of time and keep them in a few separate containers in the fridge, segregating cooked veggies, raw veggies, pasta, berries, and dressing. When it's time to serve, just assemble. Add any nuts or seeds at the last minute so they keep their crunch.


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