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