Cold Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts Recipe

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If you’re after a unique side dish perfect for a summer barbecue or picnic, then this cold pasta salad with sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts is a great option. It’s a one-bowl recipe (minus the pot you cook the pasta in!) and it takes all of ten minutes to throw together.

Packed with bright and vibrant Mediterranean flavours, you also can make this even a few days in advance because the salad just keeps getting better while sitting in the fridge!

Along with other summer salads like my artichoke and roasted red pepper salad, charred corn salad or watermelon salad, it’s perfect for a hot day or a fun get-together.

Delicious Pasta Salad
Delicious Pasta Salad

How to Make a Mediterranean Pasta Salad

This salad is quick and easy to make and you can prep all of the ingredients generally in the time it takes the pasta to cook. So the first step is to cook your pasta and toast your pine nuts!

You can really use whatever kind of short pasta you’d like. The traditional shape for pasta salad is fusilli, but I used casarecce when developing this recipe and you could use anything from rigatoni to cavatappi to orechiette – the (pasta) world is your oyster!

Ingredients for this recipe
Ingredients for this recipe

Simply cook the pasta according to the package instructions and turn your attention to toasting your pine nuts in a 180℃ (350℉) for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, it’s time to mix the salad dressing! This can be easily done just in the bowl you plan to toss the salad in, minimising the need to do extra dishes (always a win in my book!).

Adding the ingredients for the dressing
Adding the ingredients for the dressing

So in a large bowl, add in some sherry vinegar (you can use red wine vinegar here, as well, if that’s all you have), a bit of lemon juice, some lemon zest (zest the lemon before juicing it!), a splash of soy sauce (this adds some saltiness and umami), a little bit of tomato paste, some dijon mustard and some grate (or finely minced) garlic.

Whisk all of this until well combined before streaming in the oil. I recommend using the oil from your jar of sun dried tomatoes because it’s so flavourful and really just adds to the “tomatoey-ness” of this salad. However, you don’t have to do this and can just use olive oil instead.

Making the dressing
Whisking the dressing

Stream in the oil while whisking constantly to make a steady emulsion.

Then, it’s time to add your pasta to the dressing! Also, toss in your toasted pine nuts, plenty of chopped sun dried tomatoes, a sliced red onion (you can use shallots or scallions here, too!), some parmesan cheese that you’ve shaved with a vegetable peeler and lots of fresh basil and parsley.

Toss all of this until everything is well combined and then give it a taste to adjust for seasoning. I almost always think this needs a good grind of black pepper, but see if you need to add salt at all, too.

Tossing the pasta salad together
Tossing the pasta salad together

Now, you could serve this immediately, however, the flavours will kind of mellow and meld into each other the longer it sits, so it’s good even a few days later. So it’s up to you when you want to serve the salad!

Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes & Pine Nuts

This bright and flavourful pasta salad is quick to throw together and gets better the longer it sits in the fridge. Though it can be eaten as soon as it's tossed together, make it in advance to get ahead of entertainment cooking and enjoy it when you need to!
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Servings 8
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


  • 500 g (1 lb) pasta such as fusilli, cavatappi or casarecce
  • 50 g ( cup) pine nuts
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic grated or very finely minced
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) oil from the sun dried tomatoes
  • 75 g ( cup) sun dried tomatoes roughly chopped
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 30 g ( cups) parmesan cheese shaved into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 20 g (¼ cup) basil roughly chopped
  • 10 g (2 tbsp) flat-leaf parsley roughly chopped


  • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180℃ (350℉). Add the pine nuts to a baking tray and place them in the oven to toast for five minutes – or until golden and fragrant.
    Toasting the pine nuts
  • In a large salad mixing bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice & zest, soy sauce, tomato paste, mustard and garlic. Whisking constantly, slowly stream in the oil to make a stanle immulsion.
    Making the dressing
  • Add the cooked pasta and toasted pine nuts to bowl along with the sun dried tomatoes, red onion, parmesan cheese, basil and parsley. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and toss to combine. Serve immediately or refreigerate for up to 5 days.
    Tossing the pasta salad together


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 543mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 362IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe or have questions?Click here to leave a comment!

All in, this pasta salad is so simple to make and a delicious departure to traditional pasta salads.

Are you after a great pasta salad recipe? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments!

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Maggie is the creator behind No Frills Kitchen. She is a world traveller, home cook and recipe developer who loves to experiment with new cuisines and techniques at every chance she gets. No stranger to improvising and making do with the equipment and ingredients she has available, she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. Read More

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