A cold Fresh Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad is a perfect spring or summer light meal or side dish to bring to a backyard BBQ or potluck.  The recipe serves four but can be doubled to make a larger batch.  I use a ton of garlic, I LOVE garlic.  The grated Parmesan or Romano cheese finishes off this cold pasta salad nicely.

Fresh tomatoes, basil and balsamic tossed with a penne rigate.
the best way to use up summer tomatoes and fresh grown basil

Looking for more cold salad ideas, try my Spicy Thai spaghetti salad. Or warm, you can’t go wrong with the is an easy fresh tomato and basil spaghetti recipe.

Ingredients

  • The Tomatoes are the star so they must be perfectly ripe. Grape tomatoes are my go-to, but you can use cherry tomatoes. Try the multi-color tomatoes for a nice presentation.
  • The Basil is the co-star here and for the best flavor, fresh basil leaves should be used. I don’t recommend substituting.
  • Use fresh Garlic, the tube or jarred always seems to have an artificial taste when used in a raw salad, so opt for fresh.
  • The Balsamic vinegar should be the best you have in your pantry. On a cold salad like this, the flavor really comes through.
  • Use the best extra virgin olive oil you have on hand. I keep two types in my pantry, one for cooking and one for salads and dipping.
  • Sugar adds a touch of sweetness.
  • Red pepper flakes give the salad a little kick
  • Dried Penne Rigate (one with the groves on it) is the traditional pasta to use, however, you can also use Spaghetti or a Linguini. Leftover pasta is great for this recipe.
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese or you can cut up some Mozarella.
  • An optional item is to add diced olives.

Instructions

  1. Combine everything but the basil leaves and the Penne pasta in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside 30 minutes, so the tomatoes have time to marinate. The longer the tomatoes marinate the deeper the flavor.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions until Al dente. Al dente pasta will have a chewy and firm texture. Drain (don’t rinse) and add the cooked Penne to the tomato mixture.
  3. Add the fresh basil.
  4. Toss the Penne until well mixed.
  5. Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
  6. Serve at room temperature.

Tomato and Basil pasta salad is the perfect make-ahead recipe for BBQs and potlucks. Have extra tomatoes fro your garden then you might enjoy a simple salade de tomates.

Pasta Salad
the best way to use up summer tomatoes and fresh basil

Make-ahead Tips

  • Store covered in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t top with the cheese until ready to serve.
  • Before serving toss with a little extra olive oil.

Now that’s easy and it tastes even better the next day!

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Fresh tomatoes, basil and balsamic tossed with a penne rigate.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Pasta Salad Recipe

Perfect for a summertime light lunch. Taste great chilled or at room temperature.
4.72 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sunday Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Marinate Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 173kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes

Ingredients

  • 18-20 grape tomato’s cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic pushed through a press
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • teaspoon white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves chopped or ripped
  • 2 cups dried penne rigate
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese grated

Instructions

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine everything but the basil leaves and penne. Set aside 30 minutes so the tomatoes have time to marinate.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.
  • Drain (don’t rinse) and add the cooked Penne to the tomato mixture.
  • Add the basil.
  • Toss the Penne until well mixed.
  • Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.
  • Serve at room temperature.

Notes

The prep time includes time needed to cook the Penne pasta.
Can also be made with thick spaghetti.
The longer the tomatoes marinate the more deep the flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 173kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 191mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g
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pasta salad

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