Easy Pasta Salad with Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette

5 from 2 votes

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This easy pasta salad with jalapeño basil vinaigrette combines fresh vegetables, zesty flavors, and a homemade dressing that is just epic! This pasta is best cold, and the perfect potluck picnic side dish recipe, or meal prep recipe. As the temperatures rise and summer is in full swing, there’s nothing quite like a refreshing cold pasta salad to satisfy!

If you’re looking for another pasta salad, be sure to check out our Summer Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Parmesan!

Easy Pasta Salad with Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette

What ingredients do you need for this easy pasta salad recipe?

For the vinaigrette: You will blend shallots, jalapeño, basil, olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt and black pepper until fully combined and smooth. It should be a creamy bright green color. Adjust with olive oil as needed!

This vinaigrette is extremely versatile, and can be made to add on anything like meats, proteins, or drizzled on top of soup as well. Probably my go-to basil salad dressing.

Vegetables for the pasta salad

  • Thinly sliced snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Grilled zucchini. You can also use raw zucchini, or roast them, you can also just grill them on the stove, too!

Fresh herbs: I love the mix of parsley and basil for this recipe.

Pasta: You can use any of your favorite pasta! I would just suggest a shorter pasta, and not something like bucatini and spaghetti.

Cheese: We are using buffalo mozzarella cheese for this recipe, the creamy texture pairs really nicely with the crunch of the peas and the tanginess of the dressing.

Other ingredients: You can use and swap in any of your favorite veggies for this recipe like grape tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, bell pepper, broccoli, black olives, or any cheeses such as feta cheese, parmesan cheese, or even goat cheese.

If you want to add protein to this dish, I think some shredded chicken would work great, or cold shrimp!

Easy Pasta Salad with Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette

Instructions to make the best pasta salad

Prepare the jalapeño basil vinaigrette

In a blender or food processor, combine the shallots, jalapeño pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and the bundle of fresh basil. Blend until smooth and well combined. If needed, add a little more oil to achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.

Cook the pasta

Bring a large pot to a boil, salt when boiling. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until cooked through. (You don’t want this al dente because you’ll be rinsing it off to cool when fully cooked). Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Prepare the vegetables

  • Make your zucchini: We sliced the zucchini lengthwise and scored the zucchini with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, then placed on the grill until cooked through and charred. You can make this in the oven or on the stovetop, or even raw.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the thinly sliced snap peas, sliced radishes, yellow zucchini, green zucchini, fresh basil and parsley.

Assemble the salad

Add the cooked and cooled pasta to the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta and vegetables, tossing well to coat everything evenly. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.

Add the mozzarella

Gently fold in the torn mozzarella cheese, distributing it evenly throughout the salad.

Chill and serve

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to all come together. When ready to serve, give it a final toss and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Easy Pasta Salad with Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette

Tips, Tricks and Substitutions

What if I don’t like spicy? If you’d like a milder dressing, you can reduce the amount of jalapeño pepper or remove the seeds and veins before chopping. You can also remove the spice all together.

To make this vegan: For a vegan version, you can substitute the mozzarella with your favorite plant-based cheese or omit it altogether.

How can I store pasta salad? Store leftovers in the fridge for 4-5 days!

Check out the below summer recipes for more inspiration!

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Easy Pasta Salad with Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette
5 from 2 votes

Easy Pasta Salad with Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette

This easy pasta salad with jalapeño basil vinaigrette combines fresh vegetables, zesty flavors, and a homemade dressing that is just epic!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

Jalapeño Basil Vinaigrette

  • 2 small shallots, or 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, cut in half
  • 1 large bundle of fresh basil, leaves picked
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, adjust with more if preferred
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounce /1/2 pound pasta, your choice of a short shape such as rigatoni, penne, we are using Gemelli
  • 1 cup snap peas, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch radishes (around 4-5), thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 1 large green zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 8 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese, roughly torn, we are using bocconcini
  • small bundle of fresh basil and parsley

Instructions 

  • In a blender or food processor, combine the shallots, jalapeño pepper, olive oil, salt, pepper, sherry vinegar, and the bundle of fresh basil. Blend until smooth and well combined. If needed, add a little more oil to achieve the desired consistency. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot to a boil, salt when boiling. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until cooked through. (You don’t want this al dente because you’ll be rinsing it off to cool when fully cooked). Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Make your zucchini. We sliced the zucchini lengthwise and scored the zucchini with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, then placed on the grill until cooked through and charred. You can make this in the oven or on the stovetop, or even raw.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the thinly sliced snap peas, sliced radishes, yellow zucchini, green zucchini, fresh basil and parsley.
  • Add the cooked and cooled pasta to the bowl with the vegetables. Pour the vinaigrette over the pasta and vegetables, tossing well to coat everything evenly. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Gently fold in the torn mozzarella cheese, distributing it evenly throughout the salad.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate the pasta salad for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to all come together. When ready to serve, give it a final toss and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 23g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 356mg, Potassium: 45mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 383IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 287mg, Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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