The perfect side dish for summer cook-outs, this gluten-free Italian pasta salad is always a hit! Full of zesty flavor and crunchy veggies, everyone will love this easy pasta salad recipe made with simple ingredients.
As spring and summer roll around, so do the potlucks, cookouts, and graduation parties! If you need a dish to pass, consider making this easy gluten-free pasta salad recipe! It only requires three ingredients plus some of your favorite fresh veggies!
This recipe is based off of my mother-in-law's classic Italian pasta salad which we all consider to be the best pasta salad! It's one of those simple recipes that is perfect for the summer months when you don't want to heat up the kitchen.
If you're in need of more ideas to round out the meal, this recipe pairs well with Italian beef as a main dish and this hashbrown casserole is another easy recipe. Make some delicious double chocolate cookies for dessert!
- Gluten-Free Rotini Pasta: Barilla is my favorite brand of gluten-free pasta, especially for this recipe. It is one of the few gluten-free pastas that doesn't fall apart after cooking.
- Italian Dressing: I used Wishbone Zesty Robusto Italian Dressing. It is not labeled gluten-free, but does not contain any gluten ingredients either. According to an email from conagra brands, "since wheat is a major food allergen, if it is used in the product it will be listed in the "contains" statement following the ingredients list. If any ingredient in the product includes rye or barley, it will be listed in parentheses immediately following the ingredient." Feel free to use your favorite gluten-free Italian dressing.
- McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning: This is one of those secret ingredients that adds a deliciously unique flavor to pasta salad! This product is found in the spice aisle. It is labeled gluten-free but is not dairy-free. It contains contains Romano cheese, sesame seed, poppy seed, paprika, garlic, and more.
- Assorted Fresh Vegetables: I used broccoli florets, carrots, green onion, celery, and red bell pepper.
Pasta salad is great for adapting to your desired tastes. You can easily modify this recipe as you see fit. Use about 3-4 cups of assorted vegetables or other mix-ins such as: black olives, pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, fresh herbs, or even a can of chickpeas!
Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding two minutes to the cook time. This will bring the pasta a little past al dente. Once finished, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
As the pasta cooks, dice the veggies. Once the pasta is finished cooking, toss the pasta, veggies, Italian dressing, and salad supreme seasoning together in a large mixing bowl.
That's it! After you've combined the ingredients, feel free to take a taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Storing and Serving Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
If you prefer cold pasta salad, make the pasta salad, store in an airtight contianer, and refrigerate until the next day. This pasta salad will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator but is best when served as fresh as possible.
This pasta salad can also be served at room temperature, which is actually even better than serving cold since gluten-free pasta will inevitably harden a bit when refrigerated. You can leave the salad at room temperature for up to 2 hours or 1 hour if the temperature is above 90°F.
Tips for Gluten-Free Pasta Salad
- Add 2 minutes. Add 2 additional minutes to the cook time on the package directions. This helps the pasta stay softer after refrigeration, especially if it is a rice-based pasta.
- The brand and type of pasta matters. Gluten-free pasta can be finicky, which makes it a bit tricky to use for pasta salad. You can't just grab any old brand off the shelf and expect great results. Some gluten-free pastas tend to crumble apart after cooking, others have strong flavors that could over power the dish.
I have found Barilla brand holds up well to refrigeration, tastes the most like "regular" pasta, and holds its shape better compared to some other gluten-free pastas, which is why I recommend it for this recipe. Jovial and Ancient Harvest brands are other good options.
Stick with rice or rice and corn based pastas if possible, avoiding lentil or chickpea pasta due to their strong flavor.
- Serve room temperature. Consider making this pasta salad just before serving and serve at room temperature. This will ensure the softest pasta, especially if texture is important to you.
To get ahead, you could prep the veggies a day in advance. Then cook the pasta and toss everything together as close to serving as possible.
- Add more dressing. The longer the salad sits, the pasta tends to soak up the Italian dressing, so having a little extra salad dressing on hand never hurts! Drizzle in more just before serving and toss to combine.
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Gluten-Free Italian Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces Barilla gluten-free rotini pasta
- 1 cup Gluten-free Italian dressing
- 3 tablespoons McCormick Salad Supreme
- 6 green onions
- 2 small carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 small head broccoli, use florets only
- 1 red bell pepper
- Cook pasta in boiling water, adding two additional minutes to the cook time on the package.
- While the pasta cooks, finely dice the vegetables and grate the carrots with a box grater.
- When the pasta is done cooking, rinse with cold water and drain well.
- Add the pasta and vegetables to a large bowl. Add in the Italian dressing and Salad Supreme seasoning.
- Gently toss until well combined.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.
- As noted in the directions, adding 2 additional minutes to the cook time of the pasta helps it stay softer after refrigeration.
- All gluten-free pasta will get a little harder when cold, but Barilla brand holds up the best.
- Consider making this pasta salad close to the time of serving and serve at room temperature for the softest pasta.
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