Pasta salad is almost always the most disappointing side dish at the picnic or cookout, but this recipe shows you how to transform what is normally an "afterthought" to a dish that's good enough to enjoy on its own, or as the perfect complement to grilled meat. Top this with extra fresh chopped herbs if you like.

Recipe Summary

15 mins
10 mins
3 hrs 20 mins
3 hrs 45 mins
8 servings


Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
For the Vinaigrette:
For the Salad:


Instructions Checklist
  • Whisk Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, rice vinegar, salt, sugar, and cayenne together in a large bowl for about 30 seconds. Whisk in olive oil in 1-teaspoon increments until emulsified. Whisk in tarragon, dill, parsley, chives, and thyme. Remove and reserve 1/2 of the dressing in a separate small bowl.

  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil; cook rotini at a boil until tender yet firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Add snow peas, carrots, peas, and broccoli about 2 minutes before the pasta is done. Drain pasta and veggies well, but do not rinse.

  • Transfer hot pasta mixture to the vinaigrette in the large mixing bowl and toss well to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes and toss again. Toss occasionally until the mixture is almost room temperature, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Add bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onion, green onions, salt, and the reserved dressing and toss well.

  • Wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours before serving. Toss and adjust seasoning before serving.

Chef's Notes:

Use a mild-flavored olive oil, or an olive and vegetable oil blend. You can use sugar snap peas instead of snow peas.

You can serve this right away, but for best results, chill for a few hours before serving.

Nutrition Facts

492 calories; protein 9.1g; carbohydrates 50.9g; fat 28.1g; sodium 641.6mg. Full Nutrition


Rating: 5 stars
It was really nice and I like the fact there are so many veggies. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Like anything else CJ steals, it's a Grand Slam! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made this pretty much exactly as per the published recipe, and it was fantastic. My variations were to used shallot & garlic seasoned oil for the dressing, and a little bit of garlic powder too, and Korean pepper flakes instead of cayenne. Overall however it was basically the same and it is probably the best pasta salad I've ever had. Fresh peas are a tad undercooked with just a couple minutes of boiling, but that made it better. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I made this for the first time last night. Followed the recipe exactly, but used snap peas from the garden instead. Made the vinaigrette exactly but - for me and my wife - it was too much oil. Next time I’ll make half instead. It had a wonderful flavor and so yes I will make it again but with only half the vinigarette Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Beautiful and flavorful! Vinaigrette is delicious and versatile. Make the day before for flavors to develop and it was devoured! Read More