Looking for an easy, tasty pasta salad recipe? Look no further! This Broccoli Pasta Salad with tomatoes and cheese is tossed with homemade mustard vinaigrette is the perfect dish for your next potluck or picnic.
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Why This Is the Cold Broccoli Pasta Salad Recipe You Must Try
Are you looking for a different cold salad to serve? Sure, we all love potato salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw, but sometimes we want something a little bit different. This pasta salad with broccoli and tomatoes fills the bill!
You can put together this distinctive Italian pasta salad with broccoli in no time at all. This hearty dish is made with fresh broccoli, pasta, mozzarella, tomatoes, and a wonderful mustard vinaigrette. In fact, it’s the homemade vinaigrette that really sets this recipe apart from others. This recipe is a nice change from the usual Italian pasta salad made with typical Italian dressing.
To save time, you can make this salad a day or two ahead, and the flavors will mingle together even more. This cold broccoli pasta salad recipe will quickly become a family favorite to make time and time again.
Ingredients for Pasta Salad With Broccoli and Tomatoes
For the salad:
- Rigatoni pasta
- Broccoli florets
- Mozzarella cheese
- Cherry tomatoes
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh basil
For the mustard vinaigrette:
- Vegetable oil
- Lemon juice
- Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
CopyKat Tip: As a shortcut, you can buy precut broccoli, but you would probably still need to trim the stems and cut up any large florets.
How to Make Broccoli Pasta Salad
This cold pasta broccoli salad recipe is very simple to make as follows:
- Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar.
- Cover tightly and shake vigorously until well blended.
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of water according to the package instructions. Drain. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
- Place the drained pasta in a large bowl.
- Blanch the broccoli in a small amount of boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
- Add the broccoli, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and herbs to the bowl with the pasta.
- Shake or whisk the vinaigrette if it has separated.
- Pour it over the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
Ingredient Substitutions and Recipe Variations
Pasta salads are the perfect dishes to experiment with new flavors. They are like plain walls that you can decorate how you like. They are also ideal for using whatever is fresh and available that season.
Don’t be afraid to change up this delicious salad to suit your taste buds.
- Any pasta with lots of grooves and crevices to soak up the vinaigrette will work. Penne or rotini pasta are great choices. And, if you want an extra-colorful salad, use tri-color rotini.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top for an extra Italian touch.
- You can use other types of cheese. Cheddar cheese, in particular, pairs nicely with broccoli.
- Give it a Mediterranean twist by using creamy feta cheese and kalamata olives.
- Add in extra veggies to bulk up this pasta salad even more. Fresh spinach, onions, zucchini, or olives would all be great additions. It’s also a good way to use up those odds and ends of veggies you were wondering what to do with.
- Add some diced red onion or canned artichoke hearts.
- Try enlivening the pasta with bacon, cranberries, and shredded carrots.
- Make it hearty with some meat. Ham, prosciutto, or shredded chicken would be good.
- If you are into fishy choices, try some smoked salmon or tuna.
- Chopped pecans or walnuts or slivered almonds are another excellent way to add protein.
- If you like a salty taste, toss in some salty sunflower seed kernels.
How to Serve Pasta Salad With Broccoli
Although this recipe works great for a side pasta salad, try it for a light meal instead. Lunch and brunch are also perfect as are get-togethers and potlucks.
When you serve your cold pasta salad outside for a BBQ, rest the bowl in another larger bowl filled with ice to keep it cool and delicious.
What Goes With an Italian Pasta Salad With Broccoli?
This pasta broccoli salad makes a fantastic hearty side alongside many dishes such as:
How to Store Leftover Pasta and Broccoli Salad
Storage for this pasta salad is simple:
Refrigerator: This dish will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to store it in a covered airtight container.
Freezer: You can freeze this mayonnaise-free pasta salad in a freezer-safe container. It will stay good in the freezer for about 3 months.
Love side dish salads? Check out these recipes!
- Simple Macaroni Salad
- Ranch Pasta Salad
- Pea Salad
- Broccoli Cheddar Salad
- Homemade Potato Salad
- Copycat Panera Salads
- Carrot Salad with Raisins
- Asian Slaw Recipe Ramen
- Marinated Mozzarella
- Grape Salad with Cream Cheese and Walnuts
Best Broccoli Cheese Recipes
Broccoli Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces Rigatoni pasta
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 4 ounces mozzarella cheese cubed
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, cover tightly, and shake vigorously. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Boil the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes or until slightly tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.
- Combine the pasta, broccoli, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and herbs in a large bowl.
- Add mustard vinaigrette dressing and toss to combine.