Broccoli Pasta Salad is the perfect dish for a summer barbecue or a potluck dinner at any time of the year!
Tender pasta, crisp fresh broccoli, red onion, cranberries, and smoky bacon are all tossed together with a rich creamy dressing to create a delightful and fresh salad everyone loves! Sweet, zesty and full of flavor, this broccoli pasta salad will be one of the first things gone from your potluck table!
For years I’ve been making our favorite Broccoli Salad or a pasta salad (most often Easy Greek Pasta Salad) for gatherings and parties… when I thought why not combine the two!
Broccoli Pasta Salad is a perfect potluck dish as it can be made ahead of time for fast, last minute meal or even as a quick lunch. I do love a heaping plate of pasta with my fave homemade pasta sauce! However, in the hotter months of summer, I more often lean towards a chilled pasta salad!
This Broccoli Pasta Salad makes a fantastic, hearty side dish alongside Easy Grilled Chicken Breast or perfect Pork Tenderloin! While I often serve it as a side dish, it’s definitely hearty enough to serve as a main course too! Pasta, veggies and a little bit of bacon in every bite makes this easy pasta salad a favorite!
How do you make a cold Pasta salad?
Making a cold pasta salad could not be more simple:
- Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Chop the vegetables and add-ins.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Combine and mix! Refrigerate until ready to serve. Easy peasy!!
What vegetables can you add to a pasta salad?
Obviously this Broccoli pasta salad is loaded with… you guessed it, broccoli! I sometimes sub out cauliflower or add in shredded carrots, finely chopped zucchini or red bell peppers. Experiment with your favorite vegetables based on what you have on hand or what’s growing in your garden!
Can you make pasta salad ahead of time?
Yes! In fact it is actually better if it’s made ahead of time to allow the ingredients to blend together! This makes it the perfect dish to bring to a pot luck or to have ready for a quick weeknight meal.
How long will Pasta Salad Last in the refrigerator?
A pasta salad should last for about 5 days in the refrigerator. You will need to watch that vegetables, do not become too soggy but in this case, the broccoli should hold up perfectly. The flavors will actually intensify after a few hours or even a day, so it is a good idea to make your pasta salad ahead of time.
Broccoli Pasta Salad
- 4 cups broccoli cut into small pieces
- 8 ounces rotini pasta or short pasta
- ⅓ cup red onion diced
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- ½ cup feta cheese optional
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup sour cream
- salt & pepper
- Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.
- Add remaining ingredients to a larger bowl.
- Pour the prepared dressing over and mix well.
- Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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I love this pasta!!! Wow! So glad I stumbled upon this recipe. What a perfect quick summer dinner. It was loved by all at my house and will be in our regular rotation. I eyeballed the sauce ingredients (went a little heavy because we like creamy pasta ;-) We don’t care for feta cheese here, so I cubed up half a brick of cheddar and it worked perfectly! Yum! :-)
I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe Susan!
This is a good summer salad. Don’t really need to stress about the ingredient amounts too much. It comes together easily and the bacon and feta are fun additions while the cranberries give it some tang.
Don’t like cranberries or raisins, maybe something else? Thank you,
You could try subbing in another dried fruit. I think dried cherries would be a delicious option, or you could toss in some fresh pomegranate seeds instead. You can also just omit that ingredient if you prefer.
Can I substitute with apple cider vinegar and raisins? Do I need sour cream?
Hi Lina, it will change the flavor but you can use apple cider vinegar and raisins if you prefer. The sour cream does give the dressing a creamy and delicious texture but you can replace it with additional mayonnaise if you’d like.
In the microwave or on the stove ? How many lbs of broccoli equals 4 cups
We boiled the pasta on the stove Haley, and then tossed in the raw veggies. 4 cups of broccoli should be approximately ⅔ of a pound.
Can I cook the broccoli some before using it ? If so how long ? And how many lbs if broccoli? Also is there enough dressing for it or should I double it ?
I don’t pre-cook it but you can if you’d prefer. You might like to cook it just a few minutes or until tender crisp. There is enough dressing in the recipe for the pasta salad.