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Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula and Tomatoes

Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts in a bowl


Peach Pasta Salad is packed with veggies (arugula and cherry or grape tomatoes) and tossed with Balsamic and Mustard Vinaigrette. The simple homemade dressing is made completely from scratch.  Serve this Summer salad as a side dish or a complete meal!

Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts in a bowl

Peach pasta salad – 30-minute recipe

This crowd-pleasing vibrant Summer salad is loaded with fresh vegetables and fruit: arugula, juicy cherry or grape tomatoes, and yellow peaches. This delicious salad is topped with lightly toasted pine nuts and tossed with simple homemade Balsamic and Mustard Vinaigrette.  Your family and friends will love this quick and easy summer meal! My other favorite summer salads are Avocado Corn Tomato Salad with Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing and Strawberry Spinach Salad with Blueberries, Feta, and Pecans.

Serve peach pasta salad as an appetizer, side dish, lunch, or even meatless dinner! The easy recipe takes only 30 minutes. If you want to make it as a meal and add protein, you can add chicken, shrimp, or salmon.

Summer salad

Peach pasta salad with arugula and tomatoes is simple enough to serve as an everyday salad with your weeknight dinner, to make it ahead for lunch and snack, or to prepare for a special occasion.  Make this light summer salad for when it’s hot outside. It’s a perfect choice for your favorite summer events – backyard barbecues, picnics, potlucks, and block parties.

How to choose the best peaches

  • Use yellow peaches. I made a mistake by not looking at the label in the store and bought white peaches, which are delicious, however, yellow peaches make a much better presentation!
  • Buy firm peaches. These will hold up the best in this salad especially if you plan to make it ahead.

Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula, Tomatoes, and Pine Nuts in a bowl

What pasta to use

  • Use short pasta. I used spiral pasta called fusilli. You can also use rotini, farfalle (bow-tie pasta), penne, rigatone.
  • Cook pasta al dente. To cook pasta al dente means to cook the pasta so that it’s soft yet firm at the core of the noodle. It should feel firm to the bite, hard under your teeth, while being soft yet not mushy. This kind of texture works the best with the peach pasta salad.

How to cook pasta al dente

  • To cook pasta al dente, you normally have to boil pasta 2 minutes shorter than normal.
  • For instance, if your package instructions tell you to cook pasta for 12 minutes in boiling water that means that to cook your pasta al dente, you should cook it for 10 minutes (2 minutes less) once the water starts boiling.

How to make peach pasta salad

This pasta salad is super easy to make:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Proceed with the rest of the recipe while the pasta is cooking.
  2. Then, toast the pine nuts in the preheated oven on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet for about 5 or 10 minutes.  Be very careful with this step as these precious nuts can burn quickly.  Watch them like a hawk!
  3. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the salad dressing by combining the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, and freshly squeezed lemon juice (from half a lemon) in a mason jar and whisking until emulsified.
  4. Next, chop cherry or grape tomatoes each in half, and slice fresh yellow peaches.
  5. Drain the pasta once it’s cooked.  Keep the drained pasta in the same pot.
  6. Finally, you will combine cooked and drained pasta with the salad dressing in the same pot where you cooked the pasta and mix everything well.  Then, add in yellow peaches, cherry or grape tomatoes, and arugula.
  7. For a final touch, top the peach pasta salad with toasted pine nuts!

Variations and substitutions

Peach pasta salad is an easy and flexible recipe that can be easily adjusted to whatever ingredients you have available.

  • Greens. Use spinach instead of arugula, or use half arugula, and half spinach. You can also use kale, lettuce, or romaine lettuce.
  • Peaches. While you can use either white or yellow peaches, the latter is preferred (for presentation purposes). Also, make sure the peaches are firm to the touch – firm peaches will keep the best in the pasta salad.
  • Tomatoes. Use cherry or grape tomatoes of 2 colors (red and yellow). Slice each tomato in half. You can also use diced fresh regular tomatoes.
  • Pasta. I used fusilli pasta and I also recommend bow tie pasta (farfalle). Any short pasta will work, including penne or rigatoni. Use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Nuts. Pine nuts add a nice crunch and subtle nutty flavor to the salad. Toast the pine nuts for 5 or 10 minutes at 350 F in the preheated oven, watching carefully to make sure the nuts don’t burn. You can also use pecans or walnuts. You can add toasted sunflower seeds if you don’t want to use nuts.
  • Add cheese if you like. Many types of cheese will work in this salad. My favorites include feta, parmesan, goat cheese, and Cotija cheese.
  • Add protein. Add cooked chicken or cooked shrimp to the salad to make it a complete meal! You can add rotisserie chicken, grilled chicken, or grilled or sauteed shrimp.

Can you make it ahead?

This is a great salad to make ahead. It keeps well in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

  • Make ahead the salad dressing.  Keep it in a clean glass jar with a lid.  Refrigerate for up to a week.
  • To make it ahead, combine sliced peaches, cherry or grape tomatoes, cooked pasta, and salad dressing and mix well. Even if you keep the salad refrigerated, the salad dressing will absorb into the pasta and it will taste even better the next day!
  • Don’t add arugula and pine nuts – add those 2 ingredients right before serving.

How to store it

  • Store leftover peach pasta salad in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Tip: If you plan on refrigerating the salad, you can combine all the salad ingredients (including the salad dressing) but don’t add arugula and pine nuts. Add them only when ready to serve. This will ensure that arugula is fresh and crisp and that pine nuts are crunchy.

Other summer salads

  • 30-Minute Berry Spinach Salad with Blueberries and Raspberries
  • Asparagus Tomato Salad with Burrata Cheese
  • Simple Spinach Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese

Print

Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula and Tomatoes

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Peach Pasta Salad is packed with veggies (arugula and cherry or grape tomatoes) and tossed with Balsamic and Mustard Vinaigrette. The simple homemade dressing is made completely from scratch.  Serve this Summer salad as a side dish or a complete meal!
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Keyword peach pasta salad, summer salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 405kcal
Author Julia

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 8 oz fusilli spiral pasta or use rotini, farfalle (bow-tie), penne, or rigatoni

Nuts

  • cup pine nuts

Salad Dressing

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ whole lemon – juice freshly squeezed

Salad Ingredients

  • 2 yellow peaches medium size
  • 5 oz red cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz yellow cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz arugula

Instructions

Cook pasta

  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook pasta al dente according to the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • When the pasta is done, drain. Keep the drained pasta in the same pot where you cooked it.

Toast nuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread pine nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Toast for about 5 or 10 minutes, watching the nuts carefully to make sure they don’t burn. The nuts are lightly toasted when they turn nice golden color.

Make salad dressing

  • While the pasta is cooking, combine all salad dressing ingredients in a mason jar. Whisk well with a spoon, until emulsified.

Salad assembly

  • Core and slice yellow peaches.
  • Slice each cherry (or grape) tomato in half.
  • In a pot where you cooked the pasta, combine cooked and drained pasta together with the salad dressing. Mix well.
  • Add peaches, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. Toss to combine. If you like your pasta salad a bit warm, reheat gently and briefly without adding arugula first. Add arugula off heat to the salad right before serving.
  • When serving, top with toasted pine nuts.

Notes

  • Nuts.  You can skip the pine nuts altogether.  Or, use chopped pecans, walnuts, or sunflower seeds.
  • Serve warm or cold?  This salad can be served either warm or cold.  I prefer to serve it warm by briefly reheating it in a saucepan on the stove-top.  In this case, add arugula off heat, so that it doesn’t wilt too much.

Nutrition

Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 436mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 861IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 2mg

The post Peach Pasta Salad with Arugula and Tomatoes appeared first on Julia's Album.



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