Clean Eating Healthy Pasta Salad

Clean eating pasta salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes and a basil balsamic dressing. This delicious pasta salad is gluten-free, vegan and perfect for serving a crowd!

Bowl of penne pasta salad with basil, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions. Bowl is on a striped kitchen towel.

I’m so excited to share this recipe with you because I know that you are going to LOVE this pasta salad.

It’s my mom’s old-school recipe – the one I used to request for every summer cookout growing up — only healthier and bit more spiced up.

Gluten Free Pasta Noodles

I stuck with pasta noodles instead of veggies noodles because I already have a zucchini noodle pasta salad. I recommend using legume or quinoa-based pasta noodles so they’ll be naturally gluten-free and have a good amount of protein and fiber. Nutrient-dense pasta = so awesome!

Bowl of penne pasta salad with basil, cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions.

Swapping Mayo for a Balsamic Dressing

My mom’s traditional recipe calls for Miracle Whip… which isn’t exactly EBF friendly so I skipped it and used an olive oil-based balsamic dressing with fresh basil. Other than that the salad ingredients are all the same.

And Mom will be happy to know that I left the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar in the recipe. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I think it really does add a little something to the salad. I went with coconut sugar to keep things more natural and unrefined. 🙂

Bowl with ingredients for healthy pasta salad before mixing. In the bowl, on top fo penne are sections of chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes and chopped cucumber. Wood spoon and striped dish towel are by the bowl.

Overall, this healthy pasta salad is quite a gem. It’s not only easy to prepare, but it requires only minimal ingredients and tastes so fresh and delicious. The recipe makes a ton so it’s also great for serving a crowd!

Ingredients in Healthy Pasta Salad

  • gluten-free pasta noodles
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • red onion
  • balsamic vinegar
  • basil
  • olive oil
  • coconut sugar
  • crushed red pepper
  • sea salt

Bowl of clean eating penne pasta salad mixed with basil, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Next to the bowl are fresh basil leaves and a wooden mixing spoon.

If you try this healthy pasta salad recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Your feedback is so helpful for the EBF team and other EBF readers. 

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Bowl of clean eating penne pasta salad mixed with basil, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red onion. Next to the bowl are fresh basil leaves and a wooden mixing spoon.

Healthy Pasta Salad

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups


Clean eating pasta salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes and a basil balsamic dressing. This delicious pasta salad is gluten-free, vegan and perfect for serving a crowd!


  • 8 oz macaroni or penne pasta (I used gluten-free penne)
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups cucumbers, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons basil, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and run cold water over cooked pasta to cool. Add drained pasta into a large bowl with tomatoes, cucumber, and onion.
  2. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, basil, olive oil, coconut sugar, crushed red pepper and salt. Pour over salad ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until cold. Serve.


Inspired by my mom’s macaroni salad and adapted from Cooking Light’s Macaroni Salad with Summer Tomatoes.

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup
  • Calories: 148
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 23g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 7g

Keywords: healthy pasta salad

If you like this Healthy Pasta Salad you may also like:

More recipes for a backyard cookout:

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  1. I’m going to have to keep this in mind. I love salad and prefer the grape tomatoes rather than one large slice. I think I”ll make the exception for the cucumbers. It’ll taste good with the vinegar.

  2. I love pasta salad and I was looking for healthy recipes so I thought I would give this recipe a shot. However, I did not like it at all, I think it was the balsamic vinegar that gave such a strong taste that I did not find appealing.

  3. I would like to win because I always to to incorporate ancient grains into the meals I make for my family. Maybe I would make a pasta salad. Thanks!

  4. I’d like to win because I’ve just recently discovered Quinoa and am anxious to try as many products using it as possible. This sounds great!

  5. I’d make lots of tomato pasta for my daughter. She loves pasta and I want to get a different variety of grains into her diet!

  6. I absolutely love pasta salads, so if I won I would try out this recipe along with a few other healthified pasta salads!

  7. I’m so excited the company has come out with a product that doesn’t use refined corn! This recipe looks delicious, and I would also like to try this with pesto. Perhaps with nice seasonal garlic scapes!

  8. Pasta salad for the win! I actually have a giant basil plant in my garden so I would love to try it with some fresh pesto and veggies!

  9. How cool! I haven’t seen these in stores yet. I’ve tried red lentil pasta and liked it. I actually don’t eat much pasta because I’ve never liked the texture much (though I could eat a bowl of tomato sauce!) I’d love to try these to make all those nostalgic dishes like mac and cheese to serve at my dinner parties 🙂

  10. I love pasta and being gluten free means I have to be careful with the products I choose. I am always on the hunt for pasta that has good taste and texture, but is also packed with nutrients. I would probably make a pesto pasta salad with this! Can’t wait to try it!

  11. I’d like to win for two reasons. One, I have recently changed my diet to help battle some of my health issues and am in need of more recipes. Two, I am hosting a girl’s night soon and I think this would be a colorful addition to our potluck. I am always excited to whip up something new for my friends & family 🙂

  12. I would love to try the bean and quinoa pasta! I love pasta but try to vary the pastas I use, and this one looks like a great addition to the rotation.

  13. I’ve tried quinoa past and black bean pasta and love them both – I can’t even imagine how good combining them into one pasta would be!

  14. I would love to try these delicious-sounding gluten-free pasta products! As a supervisor in the Nutrition Services Department of a hospital, we are always looking for new gluten-free products to try, not only for our patients, but also for customers in the Retail areas of this large urban hospital.

  15. Always looking for pasta replacements that are more nourishing. Love the Tolerant brand, I’d love to try Ancient Harvest!

  16. I am always looking for something new and I love pasta. And Quinoa and all th rest of the yummy stuff. Clean eating has changed my life ♡

  17. I love quinoa, now my husband loves quinoa, my kids are starting to try quinoa, and my picky eater daughter loves pasta, so this seems like the perfect giveaway for us!!!

  18. With my IBS, I’ve noticed that gluten-free eating has really helped alleviate my symptoms, so I would love the opportunity to try these takes on my favorite items!

  19. These pastas are perfect for pasta salads – esp at mid summer the possibilities are endless!! This pasta looks great!

  20. Winning this would be great, as I am severely gluten-intolerant, and all of the GF pastas that I have tried so far have not struck me as delicious. I am a huge quinoa fan though 🙂

  21. I can’t imagine a healthier pasta! I’ve just discovered baking with quinoa flour, and I’m amazed at all it can do. I’ve been tentative in trying gluten free pastas, but I’ll take your word they’ll be great!

  22. I am always look
    ing for ways to eat pasta that are actually healthy. Plus, cold pasta is so great in summer. Would love to win this and try some new recipes!

  23. I love a good pasta salad! I just tried one of Ancient Harvest’s pastas, and I loved it! I have been wanting to try other varieties. Plus, I have wanted to try a bean pasta noodle too! I would probably use this pasta in a pasta salad or a yummy summer pasta dish with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil!

  24. I love trying new foods and I’ve been curious about the new pastas. I’d probably sneak it into a dish made for my fiancé… Probably Mac and cheese (with pumpkin of course) or a tomato based sauce. Hummm…

  25. All flavors sound great but I would love to give the red lentil & quinoa. I love pasta with bolognese sauce.

  26. I would love to win this! My son loves anything pasta and I’m newly recommitted to the clean eating wagon. This looks like a great way to satisfy us both!

  27. I’m always looking for good alternatives to traditional pasta. The black bean and quinoa pasta looks so yummy!

  28. i would love to find another alternative for pasta. i’m running out of ideas and the flavor is getting more and more bland. this sounds like a great quality product.

  29. I’d love to try out their products because I’m sick of the same old standard or whole wheat varieties I normally eat. This looks so tasty. I love simple pasta salads.

  30. I’d love to win and try out these products! We are big, big, big quinoa fans, but haven’t had much luck with quinoa pasta. It tends to be mushy or hard. If these products have your seal of approval, I trust they’re great! 🙂

  31. My husband is in the midst of heavy military training right now (outside, all day long). We both already love plain quinoa and quinoa pasta. With the extra training and extreme heat I think the extra protein this product offers would give him a much needed boost at lunch. I think your recipe will replace my old “miracle whip” recipe during the 4th this year!

  32. I’m just graduating school and starting my first job (in this career field), so to be able to cook quick, easy and healthy pasta would be so appreciated!

  33. I would like to try this pasta as I’ve given up pastas and sometimes a girl just needs some pasta! Thanks for this yummy recipe!

  34. I’d like to win because I love trying new gluten free pastas that are also high in protein and have a good texture!

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