Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad (Quick & Easy!)
This quick & easy sun dried tomato pasta salad is bursting with fresh Mediterranean flavors and requires just a short list of pantry ingredients. Plus, with a prep time of under 5 minutes and cook time of just 15, you’ll have this deceptively simple pasta salad ready in under 20 minutes!
5 star review
“SO good and easy! It’s flavor packed and a great lunch on the go. Both of my kiddos devoured it. Thanks so much! ”– Sarah D
About this Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe
I love a good time-saving recipe, especially if it’s easy to throw together and can be whipped up for any occasion.
Whether it’s a last-minute dinner or barbecue with friends, a quick weeknight dinner when you’re feeling low on energy but still want something yummy, or want a healthy and delicious lunch meal prep for the week, these types of recipes are a secret weapon in your cooking arsenal.
And this Mediterranean pasta salad with sun-dried tomatoes is just that!
Plus, with just a few simple ingredients, including small-shape pasta, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach, this dish is jam-packed with flavor and ready in less than 20 minutes.
What’s great about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking, whether that’s adding mozzarella cheese, olives additional vegetables, or some protein like chicken or white beans – the possibilities are endless.
Visual Guide: How to Make Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Time-Saving Tips & Tricks
When creating this recipe, I tried to simplify the ingredient list as much as possible, while not losing out on flavor.
While the pasta is cooking, whip up a simple dressing featuring oil from the sun dried tomatoes, which is packed with more flavor than simple olive oil.
Once the pasta is cooked and drained, mix with the dressing and let the dressing absorb for five minutes.
While the pasta is marinating, use that time to chop the sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and spinach.
It’s great served at room temperature, but also holds up well in the fridge, so it can be made ahead of time for meals throughout the week or a special meal.
Make It Gluten Free + Dairy Free
For a gluten free pasta salad, use your favorite gluten free small-shape pasta. This recipe is naturally dairy free, but if you do add cheese, use dairy free cheese.
While this recipe is delicious as is, it is also a great canvas for so many other ingredients!
Caprese Style: Add fresh mozzarella, replace the spinach with fresh basil, and drizzle with store-bought balsamic glaze.
Mediterranean Style: Add crumbled feta, marinated artichokes, and sliced olives.
With Goat Cheese: This sun dried tomato pasta salad tastes really good with crumbled goat cheese.
With Nuts: Nuts such as toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds add a delicious crunch and extra protein boost.
Protein: Pack in some protein by topping the salad with chicken, like rotisserie chicken, balsamic grilled chicken, or greek yogurt marinated chicken. Or add a seafood twist by topping with a can of tuna or grilled shrimp.
Plant-Based Protein: Add some white beans for a protein-packed vegan pasta salad.
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Pasta: Any small-shape pasta will work, such as corkscrew, fusilli, gemelli, bowtie (farfalle), or cavatappi. Use gluten free pasta for a gluten free version.
Fresh garlic: I love the flavor of fresh garlic, and since there are so few ingredients in this recipe, fresh is preferred.
Sun dried tomatoes: Sun dried tomatoes packed in oil is essential since you will use some of the oil for the dressing.
Extra virgin olive oil: I highly recommend using extra virgin olive oil since the olive oil is a pronounced flavor in the recipe.
White wine vinegar: Red wine vinegar could be used as well. Or you could replace some of the vinegar with lemon juice, but I would not recommend using all lemon juice. You could do part lemon juice and part apple cider vinegar.
Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store (it has a subtler flavor). Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
Red onion: Substitute with yellow or white. Or if you don’t like onion, you could leave it out all together.
Cherry tomatoes: I love the combo of fresh cherry tomatoes with minced sun dried tomatoes. Larger diced tomatoes could be used instead.
Baby spinach: If using spinach, fresh spinach is best. You could also substitute with another fresh green such as arugula or basil.
How to Store Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Sun dried tomato pasta salad is a great make-ahead recipe!
It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.
This Recipe is…
Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad (Quick & Easy!)
- 1 pound pound small-shape pasta, such as corkscrew, fusilli, gemelli, bowtie (farfalle), or cavatappi
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (8.5-oz) jar sun dried tomatoes in oil
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ small red onion, very thinly sliced into half moons
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 cups packed baby spinach, thinly sliced
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a strong boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook just shy of al dente, or about 1-2 minutes under the package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the dressing in the bottom of a large bowl by combining the garlic, oil from the jar of sun dried tomatoes (set the sun dried tomatoes remaining in the jar aside while making the rest of the dressing), olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, whisking to combine.
- When the pasta is ready, drain the pasta but do not rinse. Immediately transfer the hot pasta to the bowl with the dressing and mix to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes for the pasta to absorb the dressing, tossing occasionally.
- While the pasta is marinating in the dressing, remove the sun dried tomatoes from the jar and finely chop.
- Add the chopped sun dried tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and spinach to the bowl along with the pasta and dressing, tossing to combine.
- Taste and add additional salt, pepper, or vinegar to taste. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.