Quick & Easy

Minestrone pasta salad

This speedy Italian-inspired pasta salad with a punchy sundried tomato pesto dressing is the perfect BBQ salad and side dish star.
pasta salad on an oval bowl with blue spoon on a yellow backgroundPhotography Con Poulos Styling Michele Cranston

Who doesn’t love pasta salad? Especially one inspired by minestrone soup.

We have reinvented it here as a salad packed with vibrant Mediterranean summer flavours for a winning alfresco side dish.

Pasta salad tips

For the perfect pasta salad texture, we suggest undercooking the pasta to a fraction less than al dente, since the pasta will absorb the flavours of the dressing which will soften it further.

Pasta salads should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours before eating. To transport to a picnic or to work, store in a cooler bag with an ice brick.

Did you know that there are health benefits to eating pasta salad that has been cooked and cooled? This is because some of the starch recrystalises into resistance starch which functions a prebiotic and fuels beneficial bacteria in our gut microbiome. So eating a pasta salad really is a win win!





SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO  Process tomatoes, pine nuts, parmesan, vinegar and garlic until a chunky paste forms.


Cook pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water until just tender. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.


 Meanwhile, heat an oiled grill pan (or plate) over medium-high heat. Spray zucchini with oil; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until tender and char marks appear.


Add half the pesto, the borlotti beans, pepper strips and zucchini to the pasta, stir until well combined. Add tomatoes, radicchio, onion, bocconcini and olives; toss gently to combine.


Transfer pasta mixture to a platter; sprinkle with basil leaves. Season to taste.

Other pasta shapes that work well for this salad are farfalle (bow tie) and penne. Swap radicchio for a small bag of rocket or spinach, if preferred.

Test Kitchen tip

Pasta salad recipe ideas

Want to switch up the flavours? Add pesto for a pesto pasta salad or flake in a can or two of tuna, for a tuna pasta salad variation. For a no-waste rendition, do a stock take of your pantry and fridge and use all the random packets of leftover dried pasta matching them for the same weight listed in the recipe. Check the packet cooking times and drop the pasta in the boiling salted water, adding the longest cooking pasta first and the slowest last. Your no-waste endeavours don’t need to stop there either! Do a sweep of the fridge for potential add-ins. Good candidates are leftover roast vegetables, salad greens and any delis meats. Mission accomplished.

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