Somewhere Over The Rainbow Pasta Salad

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(Note: this post was originally published on April 26, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

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.

Tips and Thoughts

A couple hints to make this salad as interesting and 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.

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.

A Very Special Tahini Dressing... and Discount!

The dressing for this versatile salad is just tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. It's rich, delicately sweet, and so summery with the lemon. Because tahini is creamy, it yields a wonderfully full-bodied dressing that coats all the colorful fruits and veggies here. Tip: double the dressing recipe and put it on everything; it's great on roasted veggies, nourish bowls, and just about everything else.

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.

Let's Talk Ingredients

Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts and tips. You'll see this is hardly a "recipe" at all- rather, it's more of a brainstorming list to get you started. This salad is meant to be whatever YOU want it to be, so I suggest just viewing this as a jumping-off point and using whatever you love most.

  • Pasta. Use whatever you love. I adore this cute multi-colored squiggly pasta (Trader Joe's!) because it fits in so well with the raibow theme.
  • Red things. Shown here: grilled and raw red pepper, grape tomatoes, almonds. Other ideas: strawberries, beets.
  • Orange things. Shown here: raw orange pepper. Other ideas: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, orange tomatoes.
  • Yellow things. Shown here: grilled delicata squash, grilled corn, raw yellow pepper. Other ideas: yellow carrots, wax beans, yellow tomatoes, yellow beets.
  • Green things. Shown here: grilled green beans, grilled brussel sprouts, raw brussel sprout leaves, pistachios, pepitas. Other ideas: asparagus, green pepper, green cabbage, green grapes.
  • Blue things. Shown here: blueberries.
  • Purple things. Shown here: radicchio, blackberries. Other ideas: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple sweet potato, purple grapes, purple carrots.
  • Tahini. Seeds of Collaboration is my new greatest love! Remember to use the code ROGUE at check-out to get 20% off.
  • Lemon juice
  • Dash of maple syrup. Start with a teaspoon and add more if you want.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Closing Thoughts

There are so many ways to enjoy this pasta salad. It can be a light main course for a warm summer evening, a side dish for a BBQ, or a show-stopping party dish. Because you can vary the ingredients however you like, you can make it as big or as small as you desire. Make it really indulgent with lots of pasta, nuts, and fruit, or lighter with lots of veggies.

This is absolutely a dish that can transcend seasons as well. Just pick iconic produce for a specific season and you're good to go! In most places, late spring, summer, and fall months are brimming with fruits and veggies, so there's no end of possibilities.

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

Share It!

It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.

Suggested Pairings

Blackberry Limoncello Gin Smash

Grilled and Raw Spring Salad

Loaded Lemon Hummus

Babagahummus

Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Caramelized Lemon Turmeric Sauce

Disclosure: Seeds of Collaboration is a long-term partner. I receive free product from Seeds of Collaboration and take a small commission on sales using the discount code. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Pasta Salad

This infinitely-customizable rainbow pasta salad is a total show-stopper! Load it up with whatever colorful fruits and veggies you love most. The creamy dreamy lemon-tahini dressing brings it all together.

Author:
Lee

Ingredients

For the Salad

  • Pasta of choice
  • Red veggies and/or fruit
  • Orange veggies and/or fruit
  • Yellow veggies and/or fruit
  • Green veggies and/or fruit
  • Blue veggies and/or fruit
  • Purple veggies and/or fruit

For the Dressing

  • 0.25 c creamy tahini
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Dash of maple syrup
  • Generous sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  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 stirring 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! Lay your ingredients out on a platter in rainbow order, interspersing the pasta and produce as you desire.
  6. Drizzle it all with some tahini dressing, then serve additional dressing on the side.

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Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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