MARINATED Vegetarian Pasta Salad! | RecipeTin Eats

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How do you make a Vegetarian Pasta Salad so fabulous that even this self confessed carnivore can’t get enough of it? MARINATE the vegetables! This big, fat pasta salad recipe is a standout – it’s juicy, it’s flavour loaded and it looks as amazing as it tastes! Excellent summer food that lasts for days.

Close up of Amazing Vegetarian Pasta Salad

Vegetarian Pasta Salad

Who would’ve thought those random veggies you’ve got left in the bottom of your fridge could be transformed into something as incredible as this Vegetarian Pasta Salad??

Forget limp, bland veggies sitting sadly amongst tasteless, soggy pasta. THIS cold pasta salad is the polar opposite of that. It’s vibrant, it’s flavour loaded, it’s JUICY, and will make even green-haters scoff down a weeks’ worth of veggies in one sitting!

Marinating the vegetables for just 30 minutes makes all the difference in this pasta salad!

Vegetarian Pasta Salad recipe in a large white bowl, ready to be served

How to make this summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Cook veggies (BBQ or oven) -> marinade in dressing -> toss through pasta.

Yep. That’s it.

(OK I might’ve skipped a few steps like chop / oil / salt ‘n pepper the veggies, but you get the gist!)

How to make this amazing Vegetarian Pasta Salad

Pro tip – how to keep your pasta salad JUICY (without using tons of oil)

Pasta salads keep well for days upon days, but the pasta tends to suck up all the dressing and vegetable juices. So to keep this nice and juicy if serving this 2, 3 or even 4 days later, the trick is to shake up the dressing with some pasta cooking water to make more dressing without using copious amounts of oil.

This is what happens: pasta cooking water is starchy from the pasta. The starch emulsifies with the oil in the dressing and thickens the pasta cooking water so it’s the consistency of dressing. You have more dressing (with the same amount of flavour in it) so you can reserve some to make the pasta salad nice and juicy when you serve it up the next day….and the next!

Vegetables for pasta salad

The beauty of this Vegetarian Pasta Salad recipe is this – there are no rules. You can literally put any roastable/grillable veggie in this – and it’s going to be amazing.

Oh wait. That was a grand statement that sounded really good but I realised was a bit untrue. I think potato might be a bit odd. While the notion of carb-on-carb is not something that has passed me by over the years (potato pizza, anyone??), I don’t think it will quite work here.

But that’s the only exception! 😂

Here’s what I use.

Vegetables for Vegetarian Pasta Salad

Now, I confess these were not just dregs of my fridge – I specifically wanted to use the same veggies I used in the Marinated BBQ Vegetables so I could use the same clips in the video to show that you can either roast OR BBQ the vegetables. 😇

But here’s a photo from another time I made this Vegetarian Pasta Salad using other vegetables (I spy cauliflower and broccoli) and also a mix of leftover pasta I had.

Overhead photo of cold pasta salad made with roasted vegetables

Marinade-Dressing for vegetables (double duty!)

And here’s the marinade / dressing I use for this pasta salad recipe. You get great bang for your buck with this marinade:

  1. When you toss hot vegetables in a dressing, they suck up the flavour which makes the veggies even tastier;

  2. As the veggies marinate, they sweat and creates tasty juices which makes this pasta salad extra juicy and tasty; and

  3. Hold back some of the dressing to add a fresh hit of flavour at the end.

Ingredients for vegetable marinade
Pouring lemon garlic pasta salad dressing over Vegetable Pasta Salad

I make this a LOT!

I make this Vegetarian Pasta Salad a LOT. This, along with Baked Frittata, is one of my favourite ways to use up leftover vegetables at the end of the week because they can be made with any roast-able vegetables, and it lasts for days and days so you can make it now when your veggies are at the end of their life, but eat it later.

Some more Leftover Veg favourites include: Vegetarian Lasagna (double up on veg and skip the ricotta layer), Cheesy Vegetable Pasta and this One Pan Roasted Vegetables and Seasoned Rice.

Serving cold pasta salad

How to serve it

Serve this Vegetarian Pasta Salad as:

  • a side dish to anything (well, perhaps anything non-Asian!)

  • a meal in itself

  • work lunch!

  • GREAT for potlucks and gatherings – transportable, colourful, and of course super delish

  • serve it at room temp OR slightly warm

And while it is meat free, you could certainly add a hit of protein by adding some shredded chicken! – Nagi x

Overhead photo of marinated Vegetable Pasta Salad

Watch how to make it

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Close up photo of my favourite Vegetable Pasta Salad

Marinated Vegetarian Pasta Salad

Servings8 – 10

Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above! How do you make the best ever vegetable pasta salad? MARINATE the veggies. Roast or BBQ any veg you want, then toss in a marinade so they absorb the flavour while hot before mixing through pasta. This is a big, fat JUICY flavour loaded pasta salad that lasts for days and days – see PRO TIP for keeping pasta salads juicy!

Instructions

Roasted Vegetables:

  • Preheat oven to 250°C/480°F (230°F fan) – super high heat replicates BBQ charred edges.

  • Toss veggies in oil – Place all vegetables other than asparagus in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic, toss.

  • Spread vegetables on 2 trays (fill one less than the other). Roast 25 minutes, tossing once.

  • Add asparagus – Drizzle asparagus with oil and pinch of salt and pepper. Add into oven for last 5 minutes.

  • BBQ Option: See Marinated BBQ Vegetables for directions.

Pasta salad:

  • Marinate veggies – Transfer vegetables into large bowl, pour over 1/2 the Dressing. Toss, then leave to marinate for 30 minutes to 3 hours.

  • Cook pasta + 2 minutes: In large pot of salted water, cook pasta per packet directions but ADD 2 minutes to the cook time (Note 5 for why). Drain and return pasta into pot.

  • Add vegetables, including veg juices, into the pasta pot. Add remaining Dressing and parsley, then toss. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly.

  • Serve! Sprinkle with feta and serve! Keeps 4 – 5 days, serve at room temp.

Make ahead PRO TIP (Note 4):

  • SCOOP OUT a mug of pasta cooking water just before draining. Add 3 tbsp water to reserved Dressing (after marinating veg), shake well. Use this Dressing per above, but reserve 3 tbsp to freshen up pasta salad on Day 2 onwards.

  • Freshen up pasta salad: Bring to room temp or briefly microwave (cold pasta = dry) to warm gently. Toss with Reserved Dressing then serve.

Recipe Notes:

SERVINGS: Serves 5 to 6 as a meal, or 8 – 10 as a side.
1. Vegetables – feel free to switch up as desired., any roast-able veggies will be great! Also note, it looks like a huge volume uncooked but it shrinks by about 30% once cooked!

  • 25 min roasting – listed veggies, cauliflower, carrots, corn on cob (cut kernels off), parsnip, root veg, pumpkin
  • 15 – 20 min – broccoli, broccolini, fennel, beetroot (cubes), leeks
  • 5 minutes – asparagus, green beans, peas.
  • No cook – olives, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes and other pickled/antipasto veg, tomato, cucumbers, leafy greens.

2. Herbs – you want 2 tsp in total, just sub / double up on what you have. Or use a Mixed Herbs or Italian Herbs.
3. Chilli Flakes – aka red pepper flakes. I use 1 tsp because I like the buzz of heat!
4. PRO TIP to keep pasta salads juicy when making ahead (as they tend to dry out the next day) – increase volume of dressing by shaking it up with pasta cooking water. Starch in water emulsifies with fat in dressing = more dressing volume, same amount of flavour = can reserve some dressing = juicier pasta salad.
Also, cold pasta is drier. Let it come to room temp or even microwave briefly, the toss with reserved Dressing!
5. Cook pasta until extra soft because pasta firms up when cool. By cooking the pasta beyond al dente, it keeps the pasta softer even when refrigerated. So much more pleasant to eat!
6. Storage – Great fresh, even better on Day 2! I’ve kept this for 4 – 5 days and it still tasted great, I added a squeeze of fresh lemon. Best served at room temperature.
7. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 serves.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 513cal (26%)Carbohydrates: 71g (24%)Protein: 12g (24%)Fat: 24g (37%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Cholesterol: 14mg (5%)Sodium: 631mg (27%)Potassium: 870mg (25%)Fiber: 6g (25%)Sugar: 17g (19%)Vitamin A: 1412IU (28%)Vitamin C: 176mg (213%)Calcium: 130mg (13%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Originally published July 2019. Writing tidied up January 2022, no change to recipe, I wouldn’t dare!

Life of Dozer

Potato Wedges. He doesn’t have quite the same response with vegetables. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Dozer the golden retriever dog licking lips at sight of potato wedges



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