This Easy AIP/Paleo Pasta Salad is light, fresh and the perfect summer side! It combines crunchy, herby vegetables with grain-free pasta and a tangy homemade vinaigrette. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and so delicious.
It’s finally summer, hooray! Bring on the barbecues, cookouts, picnics, potlucks and all forms of al fresco dining! I’ve always thought of pasta salad as a quintessential summer dish and I’m so excited to share my recipe for this AIP compliant version.
This AIP/Paleo Pasta Salad is mayo-free, allergy friendly and is made without eggs, nuts or dairy. This particular recipe is also vegan and vegetarian, and can be easily modified to include meat or seafood if you can tolerate it.
It’s super easy and quick to make (only 35 minutes!) and involves a few, simple steps. It is such a versatile dish and is sure to be a hit at your summer gatherings!
Here’s what you’ll need for this AIP and paleo pasta salad:
- AIP or paleo pasta – I used this grain-free, gluten-free cassava pasta that’s also AIP. In my experience, cassava pasta is especially susceptible to getting mushy, so you want to ensure it is cooked al dente. Once boiled, rinse under cold water and strain to stop overcooking and ensure the pieces don’t stick together.
- spinach – or substitute with any other type of leafy green like kale, arugula or romaine lettuce
- kalamata olives – a typical ingredient in pasta salads, olives have a briny, tangy flavor that packs a punch! you can use any variety of olives, just ensure they’re AIP compliant.
- cucumbers – these veggies add a light and fresh flavor and a great texture and crunch!
- green onions – slightly charred for an extra special, smoky flavor
- red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup – liquid base for the dairy-free, vegan dressing
- sea salt, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme – the herbs and spices used for seasoning this dish
- pickled red onions – for a little extra tangy crunchiness and a pop of color (optional)
How to make this grain-free paleo pasta salad recipe
- First, cook the pasta. Drain, run under cold water, then drizzle pasta with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set pasta aside.
- In a large bowl combine chopped cucumber, olives, sea salt, oregano, basil and thyme.
- Then, drizzle green onions with olive oil and a pinch of salt and massage in.
- Next, grill the green onions over medium heat until lightly charred on each side. Allow to cool slightly and then chop into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside.
- Assemble pasta salad ingredients. Add pasta, chopped green onions and spinach into bowl with cucumber and olives. Then, toss to combine.
- Make the dressing. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together using a fork until the mixture is emulsified.
- Then, dress the salad before serving. Adjust salt to taste.
- Finally, garnish with pickled red onions for a bright pop of color (optional)
Summer Paleo Pasta Salad FAQs
Can I skip grilling the green onions?
Yes, you can skip this step. However, the grilling really adds an extra special, smoky flavor that’s super delicious!
Can I make this Grain-free Pasta Salad in advance?
I recommend enjoying this gluten-free pasta salad fresh. Gluten-free pastas, and AIP cassava pasta in particular, can get very soft and soggy in the fridge. If you did want to make it in advance, I suggest you keep the ingredients separate until it’s time to serve, then toss them together with the dressing to avoid things getting too soggy.
How do I store this pasta?
I recommend serving and eating this dish fresh. However, leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 – 2 days, keeping in mind that the pasta may get a bit mushy.
Can I make the tangy vinaigrette ahead of time?
This simple, flavorful dressing can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated until ready to use. Remember to dress the salad a few minutes before serving so the flavor can seep in.
Can I use different veggies?
Yes, this recipe is so versatile, easily customizable and seasonally adaptable. You can use a mix of whatever fresh veggies you have on hand. Swap the spinach for any other leafy green. Using raw vegetables adds a great texture and crunch and keeps the process quick and simple. You can try broccoli, avocado, celery, radishes, cabbage, artichokes – anything you like. The ingredients used here are perfect for a summer paleo and vegan pasta salad. Use veggies that are seasonally available for a totally bespoke paleo pasta salad that can be enjoyed year round! For the fall and winter, grated beets and winter squashes might be a nice option.
Can I use fresh herbs or different herbs?
Yes, you can use fresh herbs if you have them, especially to season the salad itself. For the homemade vinaigrette, dried herbs might be more potent and flavorful. Feel free to experiment with other herbs like parsley, basil, or mint, depending on your preferences and choice of vegetables.
What can I serve this No-mayo Pasta Salad with?
This vegan pasta salad perfectly complements grilled meats like my Peach Ginger Chicken Wings or Balsamic Glazed Chicken Wings. It also goes really well with other side dishes like these Grilled Cauliflower Steaks and Grilled Asparagus with Orange.
As a main dish, this can be served as is or combined with meats or seafood like shredded grilled chicken like this Mango Lime BBQ Chicken or canned AIP compliant tuna for an easy and delicious one-pot meal.
If you try this Easy Paleo Pasta Salad I’d appreciate it if you would give the recipe a star rating and short review. Also, be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious.
Looking for some more Easy AIP summer sides and salads? try these:
- Herbed Vegan Potato Salad
- Shaved Vegetable Salad
- Summer Melon and Prosciutto Salad
- Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Balsamic Reduction
- Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges with Lime