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Sometimes it feels like pasta salads are a dime a dozen, which is exactly why you want to make one that stands out, that gets noticed. This Rainbow Pasta Salad is going to do exactly that! With literally an entire rainbow of colors, it’s as cheerful as pasta salad gets and it’s just about as tasty too. (Not to mention that rainbow of vitamins and veggies. It’s a side you can certainly feel good about.)

I went back and forth a lot on which veggie should represent each color but I think I finally arrived at a great combination. But here’s the good news – you can play around and swap different colored veggies in to find your perfect combination. Here’s what we’ve got – bell peppers for the red and orange, corn for the yellow, cucumber for the green, and red onion for the purple. I guess I missed the blue but blueberries seemed amiss.

I love orzo as the base here because it ties everything together rather than making it all about the pasta, but you can absolutely use any small pasta you like.

Now for the dressing: this isn’t a creamy, heavy, mayo situation. No, this is a light and bright honey-lemon vinaigrette that’s kissed with garlic and some fresh herbs too.

That means that this is a side salad that stores well in the fridge and that it’s refreshing too, thanks to all that veggie crunch and lemony brightness.

Yield(s): Serves 6

10m prep time

10m cook time

4.5
Rated 4.5 out of 5
Rated by 2 reviewers
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you're making mealtime meaningful.
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For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo or other small pasta
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
Preparation
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, parsley, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the orzo or pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  3. Add pasta to bowl with dressing, along with the bell peppers, cucumber, red onion, corn, and basil. Toss until everything is coated, then adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Fresh Apron.