Garden Pasta Salad with Mint Vinaigrette

The Recipe: A pasta salad with summer's best fresh garden veggies, light on the pasta, generous with the veggies and all tossed in a g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s mint vinaigrette. Fresh and summery, perfect for light summer meals. Most adaptable!

Real food. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real.

Garden Pasta Salad with Mint Vinaigrette, light on pasta, generous with veggies, gorgeous with fresh mint!

Ohhhh people, I sure do hope there's fresh mint in your garden – – preferably in an herb pot since unfettered mint might-could one day envelop the world in fragrant spearmint leaves! – – because wow, who knew the beauty of a fresh-mint vinaigrette? Certainly not me until now: what a real revelation!

The inspiring recipe comes from Pinterest, a recipe I pinned but never made. This was way back, but even now, that single recipe keeps getting re-pinned and re-pinned!

Curious, I returned to the source, one of my favorite food blogs, Dana Treat – oh no, I hope all is well, as of this day she's not posted since December 2013 – to experience the real thing, in my own kitchen with my own tastebuds.

Now my recipe is quite different than Dana's recipe. First I up-ended the proportions, using just half the pasta and a third of the vinaigrette for the same amount of vegetables – I thought it was a perfect balance of carbs and healthy vegetables, thank you! I also omitted her grilled halloumi cheese and the chickpeas but think they would make fine protein-rich additions.

ALANNA's TIPS For pasta, I used a Trader Joe's product called "Harvest Blend," a mix of Israeli couscous, split peas, couscous and quinoa from Trader Joe's. It worked "okay" but the Israeli couscous cooked faster than the rest, leaving the other bits a little crunchy. If you can find plain Israeli couscous, go for it. What is Israeli couscous anyway? I wrote about it here first, Israeli Couscous Salad with Yellow Squash & Sun-Dried Tomatoes but basically it's tiny round balls of pasta, very sexy! It's some times called "pearl couscous". No fresh mint? Aiii, too bad, too bad, I'm so sorry! But really? I suspect that fresh basil and fresh dill would be fine substitutes. Now don't go looking in your garden or the grocery for "packed" mint leaves. To "pack" mint leaves means to select enough that would tightly (vs loosely) pack into a measuring cup. You wondered, right?!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 30 minutes but best chilled for 2 - 3 hours
Makes 4-1/2 cups
  • 3/4 cup (130g) "small" pasta such as Israeli couscous, orzo or riisi
  • Well-salted cooking water
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

PASTA Cook pasta according to package directions, except they always leave out the salt, don't make that mistake! You should end up with about 2 cups of cooked pasta. Drain well and cool slightly.

MINT VINAIGRETTE Mix all ingredients in a small food processor.

GARDEN VEGETABLES Prep the vegetables.

COMBINE Stir together cooked pasta and vegetables, then stir in the Mint Vinaigrette. Cover and refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours for flavors to develop.

OTHER VEGETABLES? You bet! I especially selected vegetables that could remain raw, aiming for a mix of colors, shapes and textures.

Other vegetable ideas include artichoke hearts, daikon, jicama, kohlrabi, radishes, snow peas, sugar snap peas, tomatillo and zucchini.

Others vegetables would benefit from being dropped into the hot pasta water for a minute or two, just to take off their rough, raw edge. To my taste, that would include asparagus, tiny broccoli and cauliflower florets, carrots and green beans.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Half Cup: 91 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 137mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 2g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2 & WW Points Plus 2. CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 9 tablespoons (4g protein). This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized'.
Adapted from Dana's Treat.

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We've got mint that really is trying to take over our garden, but we've got it confined (it grows between the driveway and a fence) so it doesn't have that many places to go. But it's probably make its way into the yard of our next door neighbor. ;-) Anyway, never thought to make a mint vinaigrette. But I will. ;-)
John ~ You really have to be careful with mint -- and garlic chive -- I’ve learned both the hard way. And yes, do try a mint vinaigrette, so ... minty!
this is just so perfect for a light summer salad. definitely giving that mint vinaigrette dressing a go. thanks for sharing!
Thalia ~ Thank you! Let me know how it goes, it’s definitely a show-stopped for summer!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna