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. 

Print
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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

Description

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!


Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.

Notes

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

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

Nutrition

  • 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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    79 comments
    1. Nancy
      July 1, 2020 AT 4:00 am

      salad it’s really yummy I tried at home, I added extra mushroom taste is different.

    2. Pam Avoledo
      April 27, 2020 AT 9:36 pm

      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.

    3. Lynsey
      April 14, 2020 AT 2:18 am

      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.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 14, 2020 AT 1:04 pm

        So sorry you didn’t enjoy this recipe, Lynsey. If you try it again, you can definitely use less balsamic vinegar and more olive oil if you’re not a fan of the balsamic taste.

    4. Lily
      July 6, 2019 AT 2:53 am

      looks delicious, I will definitely try to cook

    5. Meredith
      June 1, 2019 AT 8:01 am

      Could i substitute maple syrup for the coconut sugar in this recipe?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 2, 2019 AT 11:17 pm

        Totally!

    6. Allyson Collins
      July 5, 2015 AT 3:12 pm

      I would love to win so I can try these before I buy them. I have been on the hunt for a healthier pasta.

    7. Kelly D
      July 3, 2015 AT 1:06 pm

      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!

    8. Carolsue
      July 1, 2015 AT 3:29 am

      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!

    9. Madeline Ko
      June 30, 2015 AT 5:24 pm

      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!

    10. DJ
      June 30, 2015 AT 3:04 pm

      I would make shrimp scampi with pasta for the 4th of July.

    11. Amy M.
      June 30, 2015 AT 10:02 am

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

    12. Christina
      June 30, 2015 AT 12:14 am

      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!

    13. Amanda F
      June 29, 2015 AT 5:08 pm

      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!

    14. gabsodon
      June 29, 2015 AT 4:45 pm

      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 🙂

    15. ktbuchs87
      June 29, 2015 AT 4:13 pm

      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!

    16. Aimee
      June 29, 2015 AT 3:54 pm

      I’d love to make some pasta and quinoa dishes to bring to summer barbecues!

    17. Ashley
      June 29, 2015 AT 3:36 pm

      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 🙂

    18. Brittany Koelmel
      June 29, 2015 AT 1:53 pm

      I would love to make this recipe! It looks gorgeous!:)

    19. Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet
      June 29, 2015 AT 1:52 pm

      I’d love to make a mac n cheese with these!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 29, 2015 AT 3:13 pm

        I bet it would be sooo good!

    20. Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie
      June 29, 2015 AT 12:07 pm

      I’d love to make a pasta salad for a summer BBQ!

    21. Amy
      June 29, 2015 AT 11:20 am

      I’ve never had quinoa pasta but I love quinoa and would love to try this recipe!

    22. Sally
      June 29, 2015 AT 11:01 am

      I would love to try the black bean pasta to make your pasta salad for the 4th of July weekend!

    23. Julie
      June 29, 2015 AT 10:34 am

      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.

    24. ColleenMarie
      June 29, 2015 AT 10:33 am

      I would like to win, because I love trying new products.

    25. Marie Masters
      June 29, 2015 AT 9:36 am

      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!

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