Thai Pasta Salad

Quick to make but full of vibrant flavor.

When you think of pasta salad, you probably think of macaroni salad and a creamy mayo-based dressing. This is not that. But it definitely is pasta salad – full of chewy rotini, a rainbow of crunchy veggies, and a peanut dressing that’s creamy in a different way but delicious enough that you’ll want to slurp it off a spoon. (Can you say that about macaroni salad? Not so much.) It’s Thai-inspired and totally tasty and a great way to liven up any potluck or picnic.

When I said rainbow of veggies, I meant it. Just look at all that color! There’s red cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, and green onion, and they all provide plenty of bright flavor and crunch. For the pasta, you can use rotini or any other short type of pasta here; fusilli or penne work well too.

The dressing is just a matter of whisking together a few ingredients, and it’s a wonderful balance of sweet, tangy, and nutty, with just the tiniest kick (that you can bump up a bit if you wish).

You pour that delicious dressing over everything and toss it together and you’re ready to eat! This tastes great served chilled or at room temperature, so you can make it ahead or eat it right away. (Though it’s hard to resist just going with the latter option every time.)

Since you can chop the veggies and whisk up the dressing while the pasta boils, you can have this done in just about fifteen minutes. That’s a very short amount of time for something so tasty, and you can be sure it’ll be the most vibrant pasta salad at any potluck.

Thai Pasta Salad

Serves 6; 5 minutes prep, 15 minutes cook time

Ingredients
  • 8 oz rotini or penne pasta
  • 1 cup purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Dash of sriracha
  • Kosher salt, to taste
Preparation
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions and drain well.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the orange juice, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, sriracha, and salt to taste. Add pasta, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, bell pepper, and green onions and toss to combine.
  3. Serve chilled or room temperature and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Darn Good Veggies.