Creamy summer arugula pasta salad is perfect for warm days. Packed with vegetables and tossed in ranch and Italian dressing for an easy side dish that everyone will love! If you ask me to bring a side dish to share to a summer party or barbecue, this is definitely what you will get every time.
This recipe is actually a long-time family recipe, one that my mom first created. At summer family gatherings, this pasta salad almost always makes an appearance both because it’s a favorite and it feeds a large group. It’s perfect for warm weather because it’s served cold and packed with veggies to lighten it. I just love how quick and easy it is to make, and everyone that has eaten it, loves it!
I’ve eaten pasta salads similar to this recipe before, but never one with both ranch and Italian dressing. And when you taste it, you’ll know why we love it so much. It’s a genius idea.
To spice the classic recipe up even a little bit more, I added my own unique touch, arugula! Arugula adds just the right bite to the pasta salad with its almost peppery flavor. It’s just the perfect addition.
Typically this pasta salad is served as a side dish, but I would by lying if I said I’ve never just sat down with an entire bowl full and ate it as my lunch or dinner. Soon, you’ll understand.
Creamy Summer Arugula Pasta Salad
Yield 10-12 people (side dishes)
Creamy cold pasta salad perfect for summer! Packed with vegetables and tossed in ranch and Italian dressing for an easy side dish that everyone will love!
- 1 box (12 ounces) bow tie pasta*
- 2 teaspoons salt**
- 3 cups broccoli, chopped (about 1 small head)
- 3 cups cauliflower, chopped (about 1 small head)
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 can (6 ounce) black olives, cut in half
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 cup ranch dressing
- 1 1/2 cups Italian dressing
- Over medium-high heat, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Stir in a 2 teaspoons of salt. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente. Drain water from pasta, and rinse pasta under cold water.
- While pasta is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Remove stems from broccoli and cauliflower and chop into small, bite-sized pieces. Dice half of a red onion, and cut tomatoes and black olives in half.
- Add cooked pasta, vegetables, arugula, ranch dressing and Italian dressing to a large serving bowl. Stir to combine and serve!
*or any type of pasta you like, such as rotini, penne, etc.
**salting your pasta water is optional
Once pasta salad is made, you can store it covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve; stir before serving.
If you let the pasta sit in refrigerator overnight, you may want to add a little extra ranch and Italian dressing right before serving as some of the dressing may get soaked up by the pasta overnight.
Courses Side dish