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    Rainbow Pasta Salad

    Ever wonder why you end up seeing at least four or five pasta salads at a pot luck or summer party? It’s everybody’s no-brainer, ridiculously easy, salad that you can throw together in less than 30 minutes!

    rainbow pasta salad in a large glass bowl

    30 minutes. That’s the magic number for whipping up quick meals now a days. For this quick one, low effort does not make the dish any less impressive. It’s actually quite incredible, the more the colors you throw into it the prettier it starts looking. It is very, very accommodating to whatever is in your fridge that day… different colored bell peppers… some cucumber… yes… some tomatoes, oh yay, I can see a bag of cherry tomatoes, aren’t they absolutely gorgeous looking in your food… carrots, why not, love the crunch… then I love some garbanzo beans… and oh those huge olives… bingo, that’s all the veggies I can find today. But you can put in  broccoli, zucchini, corn, peas, avocado, radish, whatevah! Bring it on, your creativity would be noticed!

    chopped veggies atop cooked pasta

    Then, when it comes time to dress it up, there is nothing like homemade dressing, especially in summer time when fresh herbs are going crazy. And then top it up with your favorite cheese. Mine is feta, of course, or sometimes those cute mozzarella balls. All you need in the end is some giant huge bowl to contain all that beauty!!

    Why you should make this rainbow pasta salad

    diced veggies nicely arranged in a clear bowl

    It’s so easy, versatile and great to have around! I like to make super-huge batches of this pasta salad as I can munch on it all day. It could be my brunch… lunch… snack… dinner… Munch Munch… It’s that yum..! Every time I open the refrigerator door and see that colorful bowl… Munch..!! Yes, it’s great refrigerated and even better as left overs. All those flavors of the dressing seep nicely into the pasta. As long as you use crunchy veggies, it’s good to go.

    rainbow pasta salad in a white bowl with another in the background

    We often use this rainbow pasta salad as our week day lunches with some kind of protein thrown into it, like some rotisserie chicken or salami or even tuna. Your “what’s for lunch?” problem is solved! It’s kind of a shame that most of the times this only finds its place at some potluck or barbeque party, when it could become your lunch staple… and make your life so much easier!


    individual piles of chopped veggies surrounding a bowl of pasta, all on a white background

    For the salad:

    • Pasta – Today I used rotini, but farfalle is another favorite. You just want something bite sized!
    • Bell peppers – Red? Green? Yellow? It’s rainbow salad, use ’em all!
    • Carrots – Crunch, crunch.
    • Cherry tomatoes – My favorite.
    • Cucumber – More green power.
    • Black olives – So tasty in there.
    • Garbanzo beans – This is one loaded salad!
    • Crumbled feta cheese – To take things to a new level of delicious.

    And for the dressing:

    • Olive oil – The base.
    • Red wine vinegar – Another staple.
    • Lemon juice – For some fresh tang.
    • Garlic – My favorite ingredient.
    • Salt & Pepper – To taste.
    • Red chili flakes – If you don’t mind.
    • FRESH HERBS – Mmmm… parsley, oregano and basil!

    So, let’s make some Rainbow Pasta Salad:

    Step 1: Cook your favorite bite sized pasta according to instructions. It could be anything like penne, farfalle, small shells… I have some rotini, so rotini it is. When you drain your pasta stir in a little olive oil so it doesn’t stick to together.

    chopped black olives, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber and tomato on a bamboo cutting board

    Step 2: While your pasta is cooking, chop up your vegetables.

    homemade salad dressing in a mason jar

    Step 3: Chop your garlic and fresh herbs and whip up the dressing. My partners in crime for this dressing were as simple as the salad. Homemade dressings are great, as the flavors coming from fresh herbs are unmatched by any store brand bottles. But again, sometimes you can use your favorite store brand Italian dressing if you want to make things quick.

    diced veggies artfully arranged in a clear bowl

    Step 4: In a super large bowl, load all your veggies over a bed of pasta. Pour on some dressing… TOSS… taste… season accordingly… sprinkle in some feta and chill at least an hour before serving.

    closeup of rainbow pasta salad

    Questions, please!

    How long can I store this? I recommend eating within five days, just keep covered in the refrigerator. Truthfully, I doubt it will last that long, you will want a bite every time you open the fridge!

    I don’t have any fresh herbs :(? That’s okay! Replace each tablespoon of fresh with one teaspoon of dry. It’ll still be delicious!

    Can I serve this to my gluten free friends? There are lots of great gluten free replacements to your basic pasta now a days. Brown rice pasta, quinoa pasta and so on. My personal favorite is chickpea pasta. Try ’em all and see which you like best!

    rainbow pasta salad in a white bowl with another in the background

    This post looks big, but in actuality the recipe it way easier than writing this whole thing. And the taste is awesome, especially the herbs that stand out with every bite, along with the saltiness of the feta. Hmm… munch… munch… I GO…

    While I’m munching on this Rainbow Pasta Salad, scroll up to the top of the page and subscribe. There are plenty more great recipes coming your way!

    Rainbow Pasta Salad, on my GypsyPlate… Enjoy!

    rainbow pasta salad in a white bowl atop the gypsy plate

    Looking for more potluck ideas?
    Mango Salsa
    Chicken Tikkas
    Israeli Coucous Salad
    Quick and Easy Pico de Gallo
    Homemade Hummus
    Spanish Summer Salad
    Cherry Tomato Gratin
    Moutabal (Eggplant Dip)

    Rainbow pasta salad.

    Rainbow Pasta Salad

    Yield: 8-12 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes

    Quick, easy, and very colorful. Take it to your next pot-luck, or make a big batch and have lunches for days!


    Pasta Salad

    • 1 lb pasta such as rotini, penne or farfalle
    • 1  green bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 cup carrots, chopped
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cucumber, chopped
    • 1/2 cup black olives, chopped
    • 1 cup garbanzo beans
    • 8 oz crumbled feta cheese


    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
    • 1 tsp pepper or to taste
    • 2 cloves garlic minced
    • 2 Tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp oregano fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
    • 2 Tbsp basil fresh, chopped (or 1 tbsp dried basil)
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


      1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Add salt to your water, at least 2 tbsp of salt.  After draining your pasta add a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking together.
      2. In a small bowl or jar add all the dressing ingredients together and whisk well. If using a jar, put the lid on and close it, then shake well.
      3. Toss all salad ingredients together, mix in dressing. Chill before serving.


    • Want to cut down on time? Chop your veggies and mix your dressing while boiling the water and cooking the noodles.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 10 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 343Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 20mgSodium 389mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 5gSugar 5gProtein 10g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    ingredients for rainbow pasta salad with finished product displayed below
    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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