Looking for a delicious gluten-free pasta salad? Look no further than this amazing Italian version. It’s perfect for potlucks, picnics, or any summer gathering. Plus, it’s vegetarian-friendly, so everyone can enjoy it.

A small serving of veggie pasta salad on a small white plate.

Summer gatherings are a lot of fun and often need lots of food to keep everyone’s energy up.

This gluten-free pasta salad fits well into so many diets and is easy to make with simple ingredients. Ensure that everyone has at least one dish that fits their diet when you make this ahead to bring with and share.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • It’s vegetarian as written, and combined with gluten-free noodles this means it fits a lot of dietary needs.
  • You can make it ahead so it is easy to have ready for any party or summer trips. Serve it as a main dish or as a perfect side dish.
  • It’s easy to use what you have on hand. Most all of the ingredients can be substituted out based on what looks good at the market or is in your pantry.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for pasta salad in small bowls on a white surface.

Gluten-free pasta is the perfect base for this Italian pasta salad. Select the type that fits your taste and diet (see my list of the best gluten-free pasta brands). You can even use chickpea pasta if you like (my favorite brand of gluten-free pasta is this Tinkyada brand.

Red bell pepper and red onion both add flavor and color. These both have excellent Italian flavor profiles.

Black olives add a salty bite. You don’t need to add extra salt because of the olives.

Red wine vinegar adds the perfect tang to the homemade Italian dressing, especially when mixed with creamy Dijon mustard. See my list of the Best Substitutes for Dijon Mustard if you don’t have it on hand.

Maple syrup offsets the tangy and salty flavors of the other ingredients and gives a nice finish.

Recipe Steps

Step One

Cook your selected pasta per package directions.

Prepare all the other ingredients that need to be chopped up and combine them in a large bowl.

As always, please do see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Ingredients for gluten free pasta salad set up in a large glass mixing bowl.

Step Two

Combine the dressing ingredients in a measuring cup with tall sides for whisking, or in a leakproof jar for easy shaking.

A flip top glass jar filled with dijon mustard dressing ingredients.

Step Three

Once the pasta is done cooking al dente according to the package instructions, rinse it in cold water.

Add the cooled pasta to the veggies and combine with the dressing. Ensure everything is coated well, then top with Parmesan.

Serve your pasta chilled as a cold pasta salad or at room temperature.

Top view of shredded cheese on a mixing bowl full of pasta salad.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • This recipe stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
  • This recipe is very forgiving. You can get creative and use different types of cheese or vegetables. For instance, you can use crumbled feta cheese instead of Parmesan for more of a Greek flair.
  • Feel free to get creative with the ingredients of this gluten free pasta salad recipe. You can include cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, fresh herbs like fresh basil, green onions, or mozzarella cheese.
  • If you want to add some greenery to your salad, you can top it with some finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Or, you can serve your pasta salad over a bed of baby spinach topped with some lemon juice.

Recipe FAQs

Is this pasta salad vegan?

If you use the recommended maple syrup instead of honey, and either omit or use a vegan option for the cheese, then yes, you will have a vegan pasta salad! It is vegetarian as written and then the sweetener and cheese you select will determine if it is dairy-free and/or vegan.

What type of pasta should I use?

I recommend short cut shapes, which means elbows, mini shells, or even penne pasta (I like the Tinkyada brown rice elbows). These shapes are easy to eat with a fork and mix well with the other ingredients. You can use rice, bean, or corn options and of course if you aren’t gluten-free, then you can also use wheat pasta.

side view of gluten-free pasta salad on a plate with tomatoes and olives.

More Healthy Summer Recipes You Might Like

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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Gluten free pasta salad with tomatoes and peppers in a glass bowl.

Gluten-Free Italian Pasta Salad (Vegetarian)

Looking for a delicious gluten-free pasta salad? Look no further than this amazing Italian version. It’s perfect for potlucks, picnics, or any summer gathering. Plus, it’s vegetarian-friendly, so everyone can enjoy it.

  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 12ounce box gluten-free elbows or spirals
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 2ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (use a vegan alternative for dairy-free diets)

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. While the pasta cooks, place the red bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, and olives, in a large mixing bowl. Set aside while you make the dressing.
  3. In a small bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, garlic, mustard, maple syrup or honey, salt and pepper. Whisk or cover and shake the jar until the dressing is combined.
  4. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it in a colander. Rinse the cooked pasta with cool running water. Pour the cooked pasta into the mixing bowl with the vegetables.
  5. Pour the dressing over the pasta and vegetables and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  6. Top the salad with the parmesan cheese and toss one last time before serving.
  7. You can serve immediately or cover and refrigerate the pasta salad until you’re ready to serve it.

Notes

  1. This recipe stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  2. This recipe is very forgiving. You can get creative and use different types of cheese or vegetables. For instance, you can use crumbled feta cheese instead of Parmesan for more of a Greek flair.
  3. If you want to add some greenery to your salad, you can top it with some finely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Or, you can serve your pasta salad over a bed of baby spinach.

Keywords: pasta salad, Italian pasta salad, gluten-free pasta salad, vegetarian pasta salad

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