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I love a good pasta salad! On the first day of fall, with cooler temps ushering in the season, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new one.
This Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad makes a great meal or side dish. The recipe fills a large bowl so you can save the leftovers for the next day.
This vegan dish is rich in flavor, with lots of veggies to create a variety of tastes and textures and pops of color. And, it comes together quickly.
What’s In This Pasta Dish?
I adapted this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish and what I love about it is how adaptable it is.
Because I’m gluten free, the first change I made was to switch to gluten free pasta. I used brown rice rotini. If you are not gluten sensitive, use regular pasta. Not sure if gluten is affecting you? Check out the symptoms of gluten intolerance HERE.
In addition to the pasta, the dish includes crunchy green bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. And to give it that Mediterranean flavor, toss in marinated artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I also added shredded plant based mozzarella cheese, for creaminess.
And finally, Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad has an easy homemade dressing to finish it off.
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minces
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp dried red pepper optional
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- 16 ounces gluten free rotini may use regular rotini
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 cup pitted black olives
- 1/2 cup chopped pepperoncini may use sliced banana peppers
- 1 cup shredded plant based mozzarella cheese optional
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- In small mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Cap, shake well and store in refrigerator while prepping pasta salad. Dressing may be made the night before and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.
Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- In a large pot, bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add rotini, stir and bring back to boiling. Lower heat and cook until tender.
- While pasta cooks, dice green pepper and red onion, halve cherry tomatoes and chop fresh basil. Set ingredients aside in a small bowl.
- Drain marinated artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Set aside in another small bowl.
- When pasta is tender, drain but do not rinse.
- In a large bowl, add the plant based shredded mozzarella cheese, if using. Dump warm pasta on top of cheese. Add diced veggies and artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Combine all ingredients, gently. Pour dressing over pasta salad. Stir to coat pasta. Serve warm. Or chill and serve cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 6 - 8 servings.
Tips for making this pasta salad.
Make dressing ahead of time, up to 24 hours prior, if desired. Add other seasonings if you want. I highly recommend Nina’s Olivar Almeria Gold Olive Oil, a superior quality oil from Spain. Link to order from Amazon at end of post. This full flavor olive oil is my absolute favorite!
There are a variety of gluten free pastas available, made from brown rice or chickpeas or vegetables.
You may use any color of fresh pepper. I chose a green bell pepper however red or yellow peppers work well too. And try a yellow onion or chopped green onions instead of the red onion, if desired. If fresh basil seems to strong for you, substitute fresh Italian parsley…or add both!
Swap kalamata olives for the black olives, banana peppers for the pepperoncini and plain artichoke hearts for marinated. Omit the red pepper, dried or flakes, if you don’t want any heat. I found 1/4 teaspoon just right, however I like a little spiciness.
And finally, omit the shredded plant based cheese, if desired. I felt it added creaminess to the pasta salad but it’s not really necessary.
The Taste Test
I served up the pasta salad warm, immediately after gently combining all ingredients.
This Mediterranean salad was SO good, full of flavor in every delicious bite. I loved the combination of fresh, crunchy veggies with the softer artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I won’t change a thing, the next time I make it. And I will definitely make this pasta salad again.
The best part…I have leftovers in the fridge, for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll see how the salad is cold. I expect it to taste just as good and maybe even better, with all the flavors mingling overnight.
Do you enjoy pasta salads? Do you prefer to eat them warm or cold?
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