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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs

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If you are looking for an easy, make-ahead dish, then this Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs could be for you! Packed with flavor, low in fat and filled with nutrients, you won’t buy store bought pasta salad again!

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs in a white bowl

Pasta salad is one of my favorite dishes to make in the spring and summer. It’s perfect for bringing to picnics or for a quick and easy weeknight meal. I typically avoid pre-packaged or deli pasta salad because it’s loaded with refined grains, unhealthy fats and is lacking in nutrients. But it’s actually really easy to make a super healthy but still tasty version of pasta salad at home! 

A healthy pasta swap, a light dressing and tons of veggies completely makeover this recipe into one you can feel great about eating. Add a little parmesan cheese or baked tofu to mix things up as well!

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Ingredients for Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs on a wooden work surface

How To Make Gluten Free Pasta Salad – Step by Step

Step 1: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Pasta being cooked in water

Step 2: Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth.

Ingredients for dressing being mixed together

Step 3: When it’s ready it will look like this:

Mixed dressing in a bowl

Step 4: Add the pasta and toss to coat.

Dressing and pasta mixed together

Step 5: Add tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, scallions, olives and basil 

Vegetables being added to the pasta and dressing

Step 6: Toss to coat until all of the ingredients have combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Protein Packed Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs in a bowl after being mixed

Serve cold topped with some grated parmesan if you like!

I’m confident that this colorful pasta salad with olives and herbs will be making an appearance on your dinner table more than once! It’s bursting with Mediterranean flavors, great as a side dish for a crows but nutritious enough to serve as a main.

What Makes This Pasta Salad Healthy?

Pasta salads can often be very heavy, smothered in mayonnaise and heavy in fat and calories. I wanted to create a pasta salad that was still creamy and flavorful, but with more nutrients and less guilt! Here’s why this recipe is healthier than the rest:

  • Lower-fat, all-natural dressing: thanks to the healthier mayo and yogurt combination – this dressing is creamy but still light
  • No refined carbs: Swapping white pasta for chickpea pasta is the swap that makes this dish gluten-free and removes all refined carbs. I also love using lentil/chickpea based pastas because they have great texture and taste like pasta, but have way more protein and fiber than even whole wheat pasta. 
  • High in vitamins and minerals: Tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, spinach and olives are packed with nutrients. Those are the veggies I chose but you can add in any vegetables you like. The more the better!

Will kids enjoy this Gluten-Free Pasta Salad?

Pasta is an all-time kid favorite, and the mild flavors of this pasta salad will appeal to most kids. If you have a picky eater who is wary of veggies, you can always cut up their veggies extremely small to “hide” them in the dish, or serve them a portion with less veggies until they get used to it!

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs in a white bowl being eaten with a fork

Should you rinse gluten free pasta?

The rule of thumb for all pasta is: don’t rinse it after you cook it! Rinsing the pasta takes away all of that yummy starch that helps the sauce / dressing adhere to the pasta. This applies to gluten free pasta too!

Can you make this pasta salad ahead of time? 

Yes! You can make this recipe up to 24 hours in advance and store it covered in the fridge – which makes it a perfect option for meal prepping for the week. This healthy pasta salad with olives and herbs is also a great summer dish, and will make the perfect side that you can make before your guests arrive.

Is gluten free pasta healthy?

Not all gluten free pasta is healthy. Some brands create gluten free pastas by combining a bunch of highly processed ingredients which are not great for you. But many gluten free pastas, made from quinoa, chickpeas, other legumes or lentils can actually be better for you than whole wheat pasta thanks to their lack of refined grains and high protein content!

Top tips for this High Protein Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs

  • Cook the pasta al dente (with bite).
  • Use dry pasta, not fresh: dry pasta can withstand both cooking and hanging out in dressing without getting mushy.
  • Pasta salad will last 3 – 5 days in the fridge and can be made the day before serving.
  • Dress the pasta while it is still slightly warm.
  • Don’t rinse your pasta after you cook it! You want to keep all that starchy water with your pasta, which will help it hold onto the dressing.
Top down shot of Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs in a white bowl

Check out these other healthy pasta dishes!

If you have tried this Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Print Recipe
4.89 from 9 votes

Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs

If you are looking for an easy, make-ahead dish, then this Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs could be for you!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 servings (1 serving = 1 cup)
Calories: 436kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold running water.
  • Whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Add the pasta and toss to coat.
  • Add tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, scallions, olives and basil
  • Toss to coat until all of the ingredients have combined. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Serve cold topped with some grated parmesan if you like!

Notes

Top tips for this High Protein Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs

  • Cook the pasta al dente (with bite).
  • Use dry pasta, not fresh: dry pasta can withstand both cooking and hanging out in dressing without getting mushy.
  • Pasta salad will last 3 – 5 days in the fridge and can be made the day before serving.
  • Dress the pasta while it is still slightly warm.
  • Don’t rinse your pasta after you cook it! You want to keep all that starchy water with your pasta, which will help it hold onto the dressing.
Recipe modified from EatingWell.com

Nutrition

Calories: 436kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 337mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 6600IU | Vitamin C: 44.1mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 8.4mg

Posted In…

Appetizers ·

Appetizers are the perfect complement to my favorite entrees and dinner party menus. You can also make a small batch for a snack, or turn them into a complete meal.

20 responses to “Gluten Free Pasta Salad with Olives and Herbs”

  1. Made this for lunch today and everyone in my family loved it!! I used 1/4 cup mayo instead of 1/3 cup and it still came out amazing. Will definitely be making it again. Thank you!5 stars

  2. Looks wonderful. I made something very similar last summer for a happy hour and it was very well received.I have a cooking recipe site as well and I

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