There simply is no excuse for buying those pre-packaged boxed pasta salad mixes. Not when you can whip up something this delicious and wholesome in minutes!
I love the combination of chewy-crunchy, especially in a flavorful and wholesome pasta salad. This salad comes together in only the time it takes to cook the pasta and can be made well in advance. The perfect salad to bring for a potluck or picnic, your friends will be asking you for the recipe!
There are many alternative kinds of pasta you can use, including different kinds of whole grains. Use whichever you prefer. If you eat GF, simply use gluten-free pasta.
In this instance I prefer to use the pre-packaged shredded Parmesan cheese because it holds its shape better. I also recommend using fresh rosemary as it’s much more robust and flavorful than dried. And be sure to let the pasta salad sit for at least an hour before serving for optimal flavor.
Ready to make this yummy Broccoli and Pasta Salad with Olives, Parmesan and Toasted Walnuts?
Then let’s get started!
To toast the walnuts, preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently. Let cool completely.
While the walnuts and toasting, combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until emulsified, and set aside until ready to use.
Cut up the broccoli florets, chop the cooled toasted walnuts, and slice the olives.
Add the salad ingredients in a large bowl along with the drained and cooled pasta.
Pour the vinaigrette over and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
- 3 cups uncooked broccoli florets
- 3 cups cooked whole wheat penne pasta (for GF, use gluten-free pasta)
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
- ¾ cup sliced black olives
- ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- For the Vinaigrette:
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt (see note)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Combine the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until emulsified, and set aside until ready to use (can be made in advance and refrigerated).
- To toast the walnuts, preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange walnuts on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, checking frequently. Let cool completely.
- Combine the salad ingredients in a bowl, pour the vinaigrette over, and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
* This salad tastes better the longer it sits. Can be made a day in advance.