Somewhere Over The Rainbow Pasta Salad


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(Note: this post was originally published on April 26, 2020. It has since been updated with a few tweaks.)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Are you ready for a totally over the top, super fun, infinitely customizable, healthy pasta salad? This summer pasta salad has become a go-to in our house, and especially for dinners on the deck. I never make it the same way twice, which is half the fun. I can't wait to share it with you!

The beauty of this vegan pasta salad is that it's more of a concept rather than a specific recipe; 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 want, and have fun! Because this summer pasta salad is so customizable, you can easily adjust it to fit your preferences, diet, and whatever produce you have on-hand.

Unlike many other pasta recipes, this healthy pasta salad is all about the veggies. It's entirely vegan, with a creamy dressing made from tahini instead of mayo. Because it has way more veggies than pasta, this is a recipe you can feel good about making again and again.

Healthy pasta salad with veggies of all colors

How To Make an Interesting Salad

It kills me when people say that salads are boring. If made properly, salads are exciting, beautiful, satisfying and full of texture, flavor, and color. If you're a salad skeptic (or cooking for someone who is), this recipe is a great place to start because it's so diverse and exciting. In particular, here are a couple hints to make this colorful, healthy pasta salad as interesting and delicious as possible:

  • Use cooked AND raw! I love to use 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).
  • Texture is key! A salad is so much more exciting with a mix of soft, chewy, juicy, crisp, and crunchy things. This salad has hearty pasta, soft squash, juicy tomatoes and peppers, chewy corn, and crunchy nuts. It's a texture explosion!
  • Include protein! Protein keeps us full and satisfied. This vegan pasta salad gets protein from the tahini dressing, as well as from nuts on top. If you want to make this rainbow salad heartier, use a bean-based pasta or add some colorful beans into your ingredient list.

Vegan pasta salad with a tahini dressing

Tahini Dressing... and Discount!

The dressing for this versatile summer pasta 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.

This dish definitely wouldn't be complete without its luscious, lemony tahini dressing. It makes this vegan pasta salad rich, decadent, and full of flavor. My favorite tahini is from Seeds of Collaboration; 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. Use the code ROGUE at check-out and to save 20% on your order!

My tip: double the dressing recipe and save some for later. We put it on everything; it's great on salads, roasted veggies, nourish bowls, and just about anything else. A tahini dressing makes this healthy pasta salad nourishing and satisfying rather than heavy, and it will do the same in any other dish with a creamy dressing or sauce.

Healthy pasta salad with lemon-tahini dressing

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 rainbow theme. Feel free to use a bean-based pasta for more protein.
  • 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 greatest love! Remember to use the code ROGUE at check-out to get 20% off. It plays a starring role in making this vegan pasta salad feel luscious.
  • Lemon juice. Lemon has such a spring and summer vibe! Make sure to use fresh-squeezed lemon juice to bring freshness to this summer pasta salad.
  • Dash of maple syrup. Start with a teaspoon and add more if you want.
  • Salt and pepper

Summer pasta salad loaded with colorful vegetables

Closing Thoughts

There are so many ways to enjoy this healthy 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.

Most importantly, have fun with this summer pasta salad! It's meant to be silly and whimsical, so use what you love and make it your own.

Colorful vegan pasta salad on a serving platter

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

Coconut Ginger Lemonade Fizz

Green Goddess Hummus

Watermelon, Snap Pea, and Mint Salad

Confetti Garden Vegetable Farro Salad

Healthier Fudge Pops

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



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


  1. Grill the veggies that you're planning to cook. These could include squash, sweet potatoes, peppers, asparagus, green beans, Brussels 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 the 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 the raw ingredients as needed by rinsing, slicing, etc. These could include cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, berries, etc.
  4. Make the 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, veggies, and fruits.
  6. Drizzle it all with some tahini dressing, then serve additional dressing on the side.

Leave a Comment

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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Carol T.
June 14, 2022
I just saw this recipe in the Seeds of Collaboration email. What a lovely, whimsical idea for a summer dish! I'll definitely be making this for a party on the patio this season.
June 19, 2022
Wow! I love the colors and the options.