Veggie Spiral Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
This refreshing, zesty veggie pasta salad recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and will stand out at any cookout. The base is customizable, so you can easily mix in your seasonal bounty. 

Updated: Jun. 10, 2024

Many veggie pasta salad recipes call for hefty pours of creamy mayo-based sauces. But this one takes a zestier approach by coating the noodles in a homemade vinaigrette for a flavorful kick. Lean on the produce hanging out in your fridge to add bright hues to this dish—that way, at your gathering, you can garner a bunch of oohs and aahs with little effort in the kitchen. This must-have cookout side shows up often on spreads for a reason. When the weather warms up, there’s nothing better than enjoying chilled and tasty forkfuls.

To start making this veggie pasta salad, boil the spirals and toss in your favorite fridge staples. If you have leftover noodles, skip this step and go straight to mixing in your flavor-packed ingredients. Depending on your preference, you can assemble this dish on the day of serving or prepare it in advance. Either way, you’ll end up with a delicious and seasonal side.

Veggie Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • Pasta: We toss in tricolor spiral pasta to introduce a rainbow twist, making this dish pop on any table. The grooves help the vinaigrette cling to the noodles, resulting in a flavorful bite.
  • Fresh vegetables: Raid your crisper drawer for delicious produce that you can eat raw. This recipe leans on refreshing cucumbers, crunchy celery, sharp red onions, spicy radishes, and juicy tomatoes sprinkled with seasonings like garlic powder.
  • Olives: Olives range in flavor and can infuse depths of salty, sweet, or briny flavors into your pasta salad. Try mixing in smoky Kalamatas, buttery Cerignolas, or tangy Niçoises. (If you haven’t cooked with them before, here’s a list of different olives to try.)
  • Cheese: Sprinkle in shavings of tangy Swiss to incorporate rich and nutty notes in this veggie pasta salad recipe.
  • Dressing: We rely on an Italian salad dressing mix to quickly flavor a combination of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, creating a zesty sauce to coat the ingredients.

Directions

Step 1: Cook the pasta

Boil the tricolor spiral pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, and transfer it to a large bowl. Mix in 2 teaspoons of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.

Editor’s Tip: Boil the pasta 2 minutes past al dente until it is tender. This ensures that once it cools in the fridge and firms up the texture isn’t too chewy.

Step 2: Prepare the veggies

Rinse your veggies under cool water, drain and transfer them to a cutting board. Dice them into small so that they remain bite-sized. Pour the cubed veggies into a large bowl and season them with garlic powder and black pepper.

Step 3: Assemble and dress the pasta salad

Stir the cooked tricolor spiral pasta into the bowl of veggies. Then, gently fold in the drained, pitted olives and the shredded Swiss cheese.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together apple cider vinegar, olive oil and the Italian seasoning mix. Once the vinaigrette is ready, drizzle it over the pasta salad with veggies and combine until the sauce evenly coats all ingredients.

Veggie Pasta Salad Variations

  • Make dressing substitutions: Depending on what you have in your fridge, you can drizzle any zesty vinaigrette onto this pasta salad. Try whisking together Dijon mustard, olive oil, your choice of vinegar, salt and pepper for a creamy and tangy dressing. If you need more ideas, here’s a list of ways to make homemade dressing.
  • Swap in seasonal ingredients: Spring and summer are quintessential of seasonal cooking. Get creative with what you mix into your pasta salad. In June, toss in fresh peas, in July, weave in crunchy peppers and in August, fold in sweet corn kernels.
  • Grill the veggies: If you already plan on lighting up the grill for your cookout, try searing your veggies to give the pasta salad a smoky flavor boost.

How to Store Veggie Pasta Salad

Store the veggie pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. If the dish gets a bit dry after chilling for an extended period, stir in more dressing to refresh it before serving.

 Can you freeze Veggie Pasta?

We don’t recommend freezing this recipe because the thawing process will introduce too much moisture to your pasta and veggies, making them soggy and disappointing. Additionally, the dressing will lose its flavor once frozen. If you’re looking for dishes you can store for long periods, check out these freezer-friendly recipes.

Veggie Pasta Salad Tips

How do you prevent pasta salad from getting soggy?

To prevent mushy bites, try boiling your pasta just enough past al dente so it’s tender, enjoyable, and hearty enough to withstand all the dressing. When dousing your dish with the vinaigrette, drizzle a little at a time so you don’t overpower it.

Can you make this veggie pasta salad recipe ahead of time?

This make-ahead vegetable pasta salad recipe is a lifesaver when you’re busy preparing to host a gathering. Boil the pasta, chop the ingredients and make your dressing. Then, store the vinaigrette separately from the rest of the dish. When it’s time to eat, pour the sauce over the pasta salad and serve.

Can you use leftover pasta for this recipe?

Leftover noodles can work wonderfully repurposed in this veggie pasta salad recipe. Try only using leftover pasta with textured surfaces, like tricolor spirals, fusilli, and cavatappi. These will capture your scrumptious dressing.

Veggie Pasta Salad

Prep Time 20 min
Yield 5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked tricolor spiral pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing mix
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cucumber, celery, onion, radishes, tomatoes, olives, cheese, garlic powder and pepper. Drain pasta and rinse in cold water; stir into vegetable mixture.
  2. In a bowl, whisk the dressing mix, vinegar and oil. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 186 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated fat), 10mg cholesterol, 356mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 2g fiber), 6g protein.

My husband and son detested pasta salad before I came up with this one. Filled with fresh, crunchy radishes and celery as well as juicy tomatoes and cucumbers, this nutritious recipe is one to try on your salad skeptics. —Melody Loyd, Parowan, Utah
Recipe Creator