Corn and tomatoes give this pasta and quinoa salad a summery feel, though you can enjoy it any time of year. A little Southwestern, a bit Mediterranean, this hearty salad is perfect for outdoor meals and potlucks.
Pasta salad is here to stay! Pasta salads aren’t quite the trend that they were back, let’s say, late last century. But it’s a trend that has become a classic, and not one that will go away any time soon.
Pasta salads embellished with the right ingredients are easy to make and versatile to serve.
Use any kind of short pasta. For this pasta salad, you can use any short, chunky shape. I happened to have a small amount of both bowties and twists (I can never remember the difference between roselle and rotini!).
Since they have a similar cook time, I used them both the last time I made (and photographed) this.
A mainstay for warm-weather meals: Pasta salads can serve as main dishes for warm-weather meals and go so well with grilled vegetables and bean dishes.
A simple bean salad like Super-Quick Two-Bean Salad goes well with this pasta salad as a companion dish. It also pairs well with vegetables and plant proteins cooked on the grill.
Pack it up: Leftovers of this (as well as other pasta salads) are ideal to pack into containers for school or office lunch the next day.
Are you new to quinoa?
- Quinoa seems like an established staple in the plant-based world, but here, for those who have yet to discover it, are a few basics:
- Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is an ancient food indigenous to the South American Andes. It was introduced to the American natural foods market in the 1980s.
- Quinoa is considered a superfood for its vitamin and mineral profile. Botanically, it’s more of a seed than a grain.
- The most common variety of quinoa grain is a kind of yellowish-tan, but red and black varieties are now available as well. They cook up the same way and taste pretty much the same as well; their appeal is mainly visual. Somtimes you can purchase a mix of all three colors.
- You can use it as a bed of grain for vegetable or bean dishes as a change of pace from rice; to stuff winter vegetables, especially hard squashes; to make pilafs; and for delicious tabbouli-style salads.
- Quinoa cooks quickly and easily — use a ratio of liquid to grain of 2 to 1 (like 2 cups water or broth to 1 cup quinoa).
- See more vegan pasta salads to enjoy all year round.
- Explore dozens of fresh corn recipes for summer and fall.
- See lots more hearty vegan main dish salads.
- 1/2 cup quinoa (any color, but red looks the best!)
- 8 ounces pasta, any short shape
- 2 cups green or napa cabbage, thinly sliced
- 2 cup cooked fresh (from 2 large ears) or frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups or so diced fresh tomatoes (see note)
- 1/2 cup vinaigrette, bottled or homemade, or as needed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (2 tablespoons)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the quinoa with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. If the quinoa isn’t done to your liking, add 1/4 cup water and continue to cook until absorbed. Transfer the cooked quinoa to a bowl so it can cool more quickly. Or, you can do this step ahead of time.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. When it’s just about done, plunge in the cabbage, then drain and rinse until cool. Drain well again.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and combine with the cooked quinoa and the remaining ingredients. Toss gently to combine.
- Taste to see if you’d like a little more vinaigrette, then toss gently again. Serve at once.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 278mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 5g
Nutrition data is always an estimate depending on program used to calculate and exact products used. This is given for informational purposes only and accuracy cannot be guaranteed.
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Here are more tasty vegan salads & sides.