An easy summer pasta salad with seasonal tomatoes, green beans and basil - that's even better when the produce comes from your garden! Unique in its use of linguine or fettuccine, it's tossed with a delicious homemade Italian dressing and parmesan. Serve it as a meatless main dish, a side dish to grilled meat or seafood, or take it to your next potluck.
The first thing I make once the green beans and tomatoes ripen is this summer pasta salad. It's refreshing, filling, and delicious with flavors from fresh basil, parmesan, and the vinaigrette dressing.
In fact, it was one of the recipes I remember in my first years of gardening that made me so happy to be able to say that I grew all the vegetables in it - even the garlic.
And serving my family and guests recipes with fruits and vegetables I had grown? I wanted more of it! That's what pushed me over the edge from a mostly flower gardener to a mostly vegetable gardener in my first garden on our small city lot.
All of a sudden it became, "where can I fit more vegetable plants?" So tomatoes bloomed on the south side of the house, rhubarb was planted under an Italian plum tree, and green beans grew up the trellis on our fence.
When there's powerful motivation like that, you will find a way to fit food producing plants into your yard, no matter what I looks like, right? I hear from readers all the time who are growing things in pots on balconies, raised bed on patios, and trying to fit more where they can.
To be able, like me, to make a summer pasta salad recipe like this that holds all that home grown goodness.
But of course, this salad tastes just as good with store bought produce! I'd just make sure to get the freshest you can, since the produce is the star of the show.
The bonus is that it's a 20 minute recipe, so will fit in with most of your summer time activities.
Summer Pasta Salad with Tomatoes & Green Beans
Ah, just looking at the simple ingredients above looks good, doesn't it? You will need:
- tomatoes (a combo of heirloom for the great flavor and a few paste for the firmness is good if you can get them)
- green beans
- sweet onion
- fresh basil
- Parmesan cheese
- olives (I prefer Kalamata, but regular canned olives work - as you can see here!)
- linguine or fettuccine pasta (I prefer smaller linguine and try to get the whole wheat version)
- Dijon mustard
- red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
One trick to make this quicker is to add the cut and trimmed green beans to the boiling pasta at the 5 minute mark.
You then continue cooking for 5-7 minutes more until the pasta is done and beans are crisp-tender. A two-for-one deal.
While the beans and pasta are cooking, make the salad dressing.
Place all the dressing ingredients, except for the olive oil into a 1-cup glass measure. Then pour in oil and whisk between two hands to thoroughly combine all.
After that, you simply prepare the other ingredients while watching the pasta timer:
- Cut the basil into slivers to fill 1/2 cup measure.
- Onion cutting tip: bigger pieces of sweet onion is more substantial in this, so I cut the onion in half and then each half in half again, set them up on the cut ends and then slice down into thin slivers. (Of course, there's no onion police that will knock on your door if you decide to go with a regular chopped size.)
- Slice the olives.
- Cut the tomatoes into big chunks.
When the noodles and beans are done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and cool them for the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a large bowl and toss the pasta and beans with half the dressing.
Add the rest of the ingredients, pouring the remaining dressing over the top. It can be layered in a glass bowl and tossed at the table, or just tossed together immediately.
I like to add some parmesan and whole basil leaves to the top, though that's optional, of course.
You can make it early in the day and chill in the refrigerator. Or serve right away, depending on how much you planned ahead, lol.
- I've served this for lunch with guests, along with a cheese and fruit plate to rave reviews.
- Served as a complete side dish with grilled sausages for dinner, it's one of our go-to favorite meals in the summer.
- It's a hearty main dish salad on its own as well.
- It's perfect with soy sriracha marinated chicken, lemon-garlic fish foil packets, slow cooker rotisserie chicken, and smashed garlic pub burgers, too.
Summer Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Green Beans
- ½ to ¾ pound fettuccine or linguine broken in half
- 1 pound fresh green beans cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/3 cup slivered fresh basil leaves + more for garnish
- 6 ripe tomatoes chopped
- 1 medium sweet onion halved and sliced from top to root
- 1/2 cup black or Kalamata olives sliced
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
For Vinaigrette Dressing:
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Cook pasta in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. Add green beans and cook for another 5-7 minutes until pasta and beans are tender (beans should still be crisp).
- While pasta is cooking, make the dressing: mix garlic, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a glass cup measure or small bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Prep the remaining ingredients.
- When pasta and beans are tender, drain and rinse well with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and pour half of the dressing over the pasta, mixing well.
- Add the basil, tomatoes, onion, olives, and cheese. Drizzle the remaining dressing over. Choose one of two serving options:1. Leave layered in a glass bowl and toss when serving.2. Or toss well and serve immediately. Optional: Either way, top the salad with whole basil leaves and more parmesan.
- Can be made ahead and refrigerated 6-8 hours before serving cold or at room temperature.
More Easy Summer Dishes to Try:
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in August of 2009.
Simple Real Food Dinner Menus + Shopping Lists