Gluten-free cold Italian pasta salad is flavorful and perfect for indoor or outdoor gatherings. Makes a great party dish too.
One of my favorite summer dishes is this gluten-free cold Italian pasta salad because it’s a great side dish for so many different types of meals. It’s popular in the summer time and is often served at outdoor gatherings like BBQ’s or picnics. It’s typically served cold, so it can be kept in the fridge, or in a cooler, until it’s ready to be served. I use Banza rotini pasta to make my cold Italian pasta. Their products are more than just gluten-free, they are higher in protein and fiber than the average pasta. It is made using chickpeas, which is what makes them gluten-free.
What is chickpea pasta?
It’s very similar to regular pasta but with a hint of chickpea flavor and a slightly more chewy texture. It’s also a high-protein, high-fiber alternative, packing about 13 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber into each two-ounce serving.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Side dish that pairs well with most summer dishes
- Great way to get in more vegetables
- Perfect to prep ahead of time
What you’ll need to make this recipe.
- Gluten-free rotini pasta
- Fat free Italian dressing
- Parmesan cheese
- Red onion
- Orange bell pepper
- Red bell pepper
- Broccoli florets
How to make this recipe
1 – Start by cooking the pasta to al dente, about 6 minutes.
It’s important to not overcook the pasta. If the pasta is overcooked, it will become mushy, won’t taste as good, and it will also be harder to work with.
2 – Drain pasta from water and spread it out on a tray to cool. Spreading the pasta out on a tray rather than leaving it in the colander or in a bowl will help it cool quicker, and will prevent the pasta from sticking together.
The next step it to blanche the broccoli so it will be ready for the salad.
3 – To blanch the broccoli, bring a pot of water to a boil.
4 – Add broccoli to the boiling water and cook until barely tender and bright green. This takes about 3 minutes.
5 – Drain and immediately put broccoli florets into a bowl of ice water to prevent the broccoli from cooking further.
6 – After the ice bath, lay the broccoli out flat onto a plate. This helps it to cool faster.
7 – Once the pasta and broccoli are done, chop up the onion and peppers and add them to a large bowl.
8 – Add the cooled broccoli and pasta.
9 – Add in the dressing and Parmesan cheese and stir until everything is combined well.
10 – Chill the pasta salad for about 2 hours before serving.
Before serving, stir the pasta again and add any additional dressing if the pasta seems dry.
How long does pasta salad last in the refrigerator?
Properly stored in an airtight container, pasta salad will last for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze pasta salad?
Yes, place the pasta salad in an airtight container and place in the freezer. Frozen pasta salad can last about a week in the freezer.
When ready to eat, transfer the container from the freezer into the refrigerator to thaw overnight. Once the salad is defrosted, consume it right away. It’s not advisable to freeze more than once.
Calories per serving (1/2 cup): 110
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Gluten-Free Cold Italian Pasta Salad
- 8 oz box gluten-free rotini pasta I use Banza
- 4 oz fat-free Italian dressing
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese I use Kraft
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups broccoli florets, blanched
- Cook box of pasta to al dente, about 6-7 minutes. Drain well and cool flat on a plate.
- To blanch the broccoli, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli to the boiling water and cook until barely tender and bright green. This takes about 3 minutes.
- Drain and immediately put broccoli florets into a bowl of ice water to prevent the broccoli from cooking further. After the ice bath, lay the broccoli out flat onto a plate. This helps it to cool faster.
- Combine cooled blanched broccoli florets, bell peppers and onion in a large bowl. Add cooled pasta, Parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing. Combine well.
- Place in an airtight container, or in a bowl covered in plastic wrap. Chill for approximately 2 hours before serving.
- Stir again before serving. If salad is dry and needs more dressing, feel free to add more as needed.
- To blanch broccoli, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add broccoli and cook until barely tender and bright green. About 3 minutes. Drain and immediately put broccoli florets in a bowl of ice water to prevent the broccoli from cooking further.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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