This Tahini Balsamic Pasta Salad with Arugula is fresh, flavorful and packed with lots of vegetables and protein! It’s topped with a creamy tahini balsamic dressing that goes well with all the ingredients!
Fourth of July is just a couple of days away and this Tahini Balsamic Pasta Salad is the perfect side dish to bring to a holiday picnic or BBQ! It’s healthy, full of fresh veggies and is even filling enough to enjoy as a main dish.
I’ve been posting a lot of salad recipes lately and apparently I can’t stop 🙂 To me, summer is all about salads and they’re even better when they have pasta in them.
Tahini Balsamic Pasta Salad with Arugula Ingredients
- Pasta – I used a rotini pasta because I like it for pasta salad but really any type of bite size pasta will work. Gluten free pasta can easily be substituted.
- Arugula – Arugula is great because it’s refreshing and adds a nice peppery taste to your pasta salad. If you don’t like the taste of arugula you can use spinach or baby kale instead.
- Chickpeas – Chickpeas add some extra protein but if you are watching your carbs you can omit them.
- Tomato – I used some grape tomatoes that I cut in half but any kind of tomato will work. If you can’t find any cherry sized tomatoes, just use a regular tomato and cut it into small pieces.
- Red Onion – I love adding raw red onion to my salads. If you don’t love raw red onion, you could use shallot or even green onion. You could also slice your red onion and then soak it in water for a few minutes to tame it down a bit.
- Roasted Red Pepper – Roasted red peppers are pretty sweet and go well with all the other flavors of the salad. You could also use raw red peppers if you don’t have roasted ones.
- Cucumber – Cucumber is crunchy and refreshing and great for summer pasta salads. I like to use English cucumbers because their skin isn’t very waxy and I just like their flavor better.
- Black Olives – I love black olives, but I know that not everyone does so feel free to leave them out if you prefer. You could also use kalamata or green olives if you like.
- Feta Cheese – Feta cheese goes great in pasta salads because it holds up well to the other ingredients and adds a nice salty creaminess that I love.
- Fresh Herbs – I used some fresh basil because it makes this pasta salad really summery but any fresh herbs will work.
- Tahini Balsamic Dressing – The tahini balsamic dressing is made from just olive oil, balsamic dressing, tahini, garlic, dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste. These ingredients create a nice creamy balsamic dressing without adding any dairy!
How To Make The Best Balsamic Pasta Salad Recipe
Pasta salad is great because it’s easy to make and packed with lots of veggies!
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add you pasta. Feel free to add a tablespoon or so of salt to make sure your pasta is well seasoned. Cook pasta until al dente, drain the pasta and then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Get an extra large bowl out and add all the dressing ingredients to it. Whisk until combined and then add in the pasta.
- Next, add in the chickpeas, arugula, tomato, cucumber, onion, olives, and roasted red pepper. Mix everything together really well until everything is coated by the tahini balsamic dressing.
- Lastly, add the feta cheese and some fresh herbs and gently mix together again. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
- Is this recipe vegan? No, I did add dairy feta cheese, but if you want to make it vegan you can omit the feta or use a vegan feta cheese.
- Is this recipe gluten free? I used regular wheat noodles but you can easily use gluten free noodles.
- Can this balsamic pasta salad be made ahead of time? Yes, you can make it about a day ahead of time if you like. You just don’t want to make it too far in advance so the arugula doesn’t wilt.
- Can I substitute the arugula with anything? Yes, you could use spinach, baby kale or another favorite green of yours.
- Can I substitute the tahini? You can leave the tahini out if you don’t like it.
Have a question I didn’t answer? Ask me in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP!