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Healthy You

A Healthy Pasta Salad? Yes, Please!

Friday, August 12, 2022 2:54 PM

Isabelle Banin


bowl of healthy veggie pasta saladMake the most of the tail end of summer with filling, nutrient-packed and delicious pasta salad! Pasta salad is endlessly customizable, meaning you can add in as many in-season veggies as you want. Bonus points if you buy at a farmer’s market!

Ashlee Roffe, Nutrition Director at Swedish Hospital, shares one of her favorite pasta salad recipes that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser at any special lunch or dinner. This is a great option to add some good fiber (veggies and whole wheat pasta), healthy fats (avocado and olive oil), and protein (pine nuts and feta cheese) to your diet. Enjoy it as a side dish, or make it the star of the show.  


Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes



  • 3 cups uncooked whole wheat or chickpea pasta (choose a short pasta noodle with ridges)
  • 2 heaping cups of diced tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1 cup of diced avocado 
  • 1 cup of zucchini, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • ½ cup minced parsley
  • ½ cup basil leaves, torn


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt



  1. Boil a large pot of water. Pour the pasta into the boiling water. Leave the pasta, uncovered, until tender (slightly past al dente). 
  2. While waiting for the pasta to cook, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, pepper, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes and salt.
  3. Drain the pasta and run briefly under cool water to keep it from cooking further. Toss lightly with a dash of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. 
  4. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and combine with the dressing. Dressing the pasta while it is still warm helps the dressing absorb into the pasta. 
  5. Put the pine nuts in a small dry skillet that fits them in a single layer. Heat on medium/low, stirring occasionally until golden brown and fragrant (about 3 minutes).
  6. Once the pasta cools further, toss with all of the veggies and herbs: tomatoes, arugula, avocado, zucchini, feta cheese, fresh parsley and fresh basil. If the pasta is still hot during this step, the veggies will wilt. 
  7. Add extra seasoning or garnish to the top of the pasta if desired. 

Recipe adapted from