This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad recipe is one of my favorite pantry meals made with only 7 ingredients that I quickly put together when our fridge was running low on fresh ingredients. Even without a bunch of fresh ingredients, this sun dried tomato pasta salad is full of flavor, texture, and nutrition and was such a great way to put together those shelf-stable ingredients (plus the feta) with a Mediterranean twist.
Table of Contents
- Recipe at a Glance
- Ingredients for Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- Popular Substitutions and Additions
- How to Make Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- Tips for Making the Best Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes
- How to Store Pasta Salad
- Frequently asked questions
- More pasta salad recipes
- Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe
This delicious sun dried tomato pasta salad was actually a happy accident. I was short on time one evening, so I raided my kitchen to see what I could come up with. The result was a pasta salad full of tuna, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, and a few other ingredients that gave this impromptu recipe a Mediterranean flair. The best part is that it was super easy to make. It’s now a staple in my recipe rotation.
This recipe is so easy to make and tastes so good. I eat it cold for my work lunches and I reckon it is my new go-to lunch! Will definitely be making more. – Jess Thomas
Recipe at a Glance
Cuisine Inspiration: Mediterranean
Primary Cooking Method: Boiling and mixing
Dietary Info: Pescatarian
Key Flavor: Savory, Earthy
Skill Level: Easy
- Good for you ingredients: The tuna, chickpeas, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta cheese provide protein, some fiber, complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, full-fat dairy consumed in moderation has been shown to help control weight.
- Quick and convenient: This pasta salad uses common kitchen staples, making it a quick and easy meal or side dish to throw together when you’re short on time.
- Customizable: The basic ingredients in this recipe are easily changed out to suit your tastes and dietary needs.
- Versatile: This sun dried tomato pasta salad can be served as a main course or side dish alongside your favorite main dishes.
- Affordable: From the canned tuna to the dried pasta, this dish is made with budget-friendly ingredients.
Ingredients for Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- Rotini Pasta: A short, sturdy noodle is the foundation for any pasta salad. I use rotini because the shape holds the liquid in the salad so well.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes: Sun dried tomatoes offer a slightly sweeter signature tomato flavor with extra depth and a chewy texture, along with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The juice also serves as a light pasta salad dressing in this recipe.
- Chickpeas: Chickpeas add a nutty flavor and a creamy texture to the pasta salad. They’re also full of protein, complex carbs, and nutrients.
- Canned Salmon or Tuna: Salmon or tuna add a big dose of protein, the fresh flavor of the sea, and omega fatty acids.
- Green Olives: The salty, tangy flavor of green olives makes a great balance to the natural sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes and the nuttiness of the chickpeas.
- Feta Cheese: Tangy, rich, and slightly salty, crumbled feta cheese on top of this pasta salad adds a rich depth of flavor and even more Mediterranean flair.
- Balsamic Vinegar: The tang of balsamic vinegar works with the natural sweetness of the sun-dried tomato oil to create a perfectly balanced and light dressing for the pasta salad.
Popular Substitutions and Additions
- Any short noodle works. Rotini and fusilli work well in this recipe. Their short length makes them easy to mix and eat, and their texture helps them hold the dressing. That being said, any short noodles you have on hand will do the job.
- Make it gluten-free. Use gluten-free noodles to create a gluten-free version.
- Use whole wheat pasta. Make the carbs in this pasta better for you by using whole wheat pasta.
- Use chicken instead of tuna. Chicken is an excellent protein for pasta salad. It has a mild flavor that tends to pair well with just about anything you find in pasta salad.
- Shellfish is an excellent addition. Try using shrimp or crab meat instead of tuna for more bright sea flavor.
- Black olives work well. If you prefer the milder flavor of black olives, feel free to use them instead of green olives. Both offer classic Mediterranean flavor and work well in this pasta salad.
- Use red or white wine vinegar. Vary your pasta salad flavor, but keep the acidity by using red or white wine vinegar in place of balsamic vinegar.
- Dried fruit is a tasty addition. The sweetness of dried fruit works wonderfully with the tangy flavors in this salad.
- Parmesan works in place of feta. If you don’t have feta cheese, you can use parmesan. While it’s not nearly as tangy as feta, parmesan has an earthy, robust flavor that still adds a nice balance to the dish.
How to Make Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Throw all of the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss. So easy and ready in less than 15 minutes!
I love The addition of sun dried tomatoes to pasta salad. Would definitely make it more often. – Amanda
Tips for Making the Best Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes
- Cook the pasta to al dente. Pasta should always be cooked to al dente for pasta salad. This creates a firmer texture, keeping the pasta from breaking apart as it’s mixed with the other ingredients or getting soggy when tossed with dressing. Check out my post on how to cook pasta for perfect pasta every time.
- Dress the pasta while it’s hot. Hot pasta absorbs your dressing, allowing it to soak up more flavor and cling together more readily. It also prevents a puddle of dressing at the bottom of the dish.
- Never rinse your pasta. The natural starches released as the pasta cooks coat unrinsed pasta. These starches help the dressing stick to the pasta. Rinsing the pasta also cools it down, making it more difficult for it to absorb the dressing liquid.
- Use textured noodles. This continues the theme of ensuring your pasta holds onto your dressing. Short pasta noodles like fusilli, farfalle, rotini, or penne have textured shapes that trap the dressing for better coating.
- Toss your pasta salad. Toss your pasta salad rather than stirring it. This keeps your pasta intact while still fully combining all the pasta salad ingredients.
How to Store Pasta Salad
For maximum freshness and the prevention of bacterial growth, refrigerate your pasta salad in an air-tight container immediately.
To serve this pasta warm, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each interval, until it’s as warm or hot as you desire.
How long will sun-dried tomato pasta salad last in the fridge?
When stored in an air-tight container, this pasta salad will last for four to five days in the refrigerator. This time can vary depending on how quickly you refrigerated the salad and how cold your refrigerator is.
Frequently asked questions
Because you use the oil in the jarred sun dried tomatoes, there is no need to make a separate dressing, just add in a little balsamic vinegar and you are good to go! No extra ingredients or time needed, and it is so delicious!
Because this tomato pasta salad doesn’t have any mayo in, it does keep really well. Make a double batch for easy to grab lunches during the week. Let the salad cool and transfer it to an air tight container, it will keep well for up to 5 days in the fridge. It’s a great option to take to a potluck or picnic.
This pasta salad is incredibly versatile and is delicious when served cold, at room temperature, or warm.
This sun dried tomato pasta salad is quick, easy, delicious, and made with kitchen staples, most of which you probably have in your kitchen right now. A dish this tasty and easy is just begging to be made. So, the next time you’re pressed for time, raid your pantry and make this pasta salad.
More pasta salad recipes
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Creamy Avocado Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad with Pesto
- Spinach Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Macaroni Salad
When you need a meal in a hurry, this sun dried tomato pasta is a winner! Full of flavor and made with only six pantry staples. Easy peasy!
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions but reduce cooking time by 2 minutes so pasta is al dente; drain well.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with all the ingredients together until well combined. Enjoy cold or at room temperature or warmed.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.