Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing
This Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing is amazing! Full of fresh cucumbers, tomatoes and feta cheese! The homemade dressing makes it special!
AN EASY BUT UNIQUE PASTA SALAD RECIPE
How many of y’all cook with balsamic vinegar? I have only recently started using it. I’ve had it in meals when I’ve eaten out but it wasn’t one of those ingredients that I kept in my own pantry, until now.
CAN I USE OTHER SALAD DRESSINGS?
Absolutely! I think you’ll love this balsamic dressing but you could certainly use an Italian or Greek dressing. Even Caesar dressing would work! Now, about this recipe. Oh goodness, I love me some pasta salad. I just adore this twist on it The sweet balsamic dressing really makes this so different than your usual pasta salad recipes! I could still get the great taste of the Feta cheese and tomatoes and cucumbers and the dressing is just a nice, light accent flavor. Special thank you to Mary at Sweet Little Bluebird for this recipe!
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)
- Rotini pasta
- Feta cheese
- cherry tomatoes
- red onion
- vegetable or canola oil
- balsamic vinegar
- dry mustard
- black pepper
I’m using an English cucumber here. They do not need to be peeled because the peel on these are very tender and mild-flavored. Just give it a good rinse in water and then slice.
HOW TO MAKE PASTA SALAD WITH SWEET BALSAMIC VINEGAR:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse cooked pasta in colander with cold water (until pasta is cooled), drain well.
Put drained pasta in a large bowl then top with cheese, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
For the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk well to combine ingredients thoroughly. This will take a few minutes for the oil and sugar to blend. Be patient, it will blend. Now, if you are serving this right away, go ahead and add all the dressing to the pasta, toss it together, then serve. If you are not serving right away, then wait to add dressing until right before serving (keep salad covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.)
Or, if you are going to eat this over the course of a couple of days, add the dressing as you eat it. This will keep the salad from soaking up all that yummy dressing while sitting in the fridge. Then dig in! Such a refreshing pasta salad and lots of ways you can make this your own. I love black olives and I think they would be amazing in this. Also, if you want to make it more of a meal, try adding some sliced, grilled chicken!
Originally published: March 2014
Updated and republished: May 2019
Pasta Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing (+Video)
- 1 pound (16 ounce) box rotini pasta
- 8 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse cooked pasta in colander with cold water (until pasta is cooled), drain well.
- Put drained pasta in a large bowl then top with cheese, tomatoes, onions and cucumbers.
- For the dressing, combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
- Whisk well to combine ingredients thoroughly. This will take a few minutes for the oil and sugar to blend. Be patient, it will blend.
- Pour dressing over pasta salad and stir well to combine. Keep pasta refrigerated until ready to serve.
- If you are serving this right away, go ahead and add all the dressing to the pasta, toss it all together, then serve. If you are not serving right away, then wait to add dressing until right before serving (keep salad covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.) Or, if you are going to eat this over the course of a couple of days, add the dressing as you eat it. This will keep the salad from soaking up all that yummy dressing while sitting in the fridge.
- Optional add-ins: Sliced olives or sliced grilled chicken
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Could you sub something else for the cucumbers? They do not agree with my husbands stomach.
I’m late to the name game…but really. Isnt the the Whiskey Chick? Looking forward to trying this revipe.
Salad looks yummy, a “must try” to add to my salad rotation. I like “Cluck-Cluck” as a name for your adorably quirky chicken whisk.
I'm thinking Sir Mix-a-lot…
Very Cool… Looks Delicious..
Made it for a pot luck at work today and it is absolutely delicious. I use Baslamic Vinegar from Trader Joes. It is their house brand and I think it is the best.
Loved the classiness added to this salad for sure.. It is a real stunner plus a must-have of season.. Thanks…:)
OH my…thanks for this! I LOVE pasta salads but can't stand mayonnaise! This one is right down my alley!
So cute. Personally, I really like Chicken Wisk. Whisky would be next on my list. How about "Chick A Boom"? 🙂 You probably don't remember that song and if you do…It's in your head now. "Chick-a-boom, Chick-a-boom, don't cha just love it." LOL
I vote "Chicken Little" for your little chicken whisk. Love the recipe and will try this today on my salad for lunch! Yum!
How about ChickenHead!
I really like D'Aquino Balsamic Vinegar of Modena but as Avasmommy said, Trader Joe's is always a good option.
My dearest friend and fabulous cook and I both love the balsamic sold at Costco. Bmc
And add a TBL of peanut butter to it for an Asian taste.
I am definitely going to have to try it! I always love a good recommendation!!
how about Rooster Cog-Burn lol.
This looks so good and i'm always looking for new salads and lighter meals so thanks for posting this. I'll be making this soon.
I like the name Penny whisk
Thanks for the shout-out, Brandie! I'm so thrilled you liked it! I came up with this recipe when I was pregnant with my first daughter – she's now 17! I can't tell you how many times I've made this over the years…too many times to count! It's awesome topped with teriyaki marinated grilled chicken! Mmm, mmm, good! A summertime favorite!
I lke "Henny" as in in Henny Penny the hen in the children's book. Your recipe looks wonderful and I wonder the same about what Balsamic is best, so I will be reading all the comments to serif can find which one is good.
Avasmommy, that is great advice. I didn't know there was that difference. So I need to get one of the aged ones. I bet that was the difference! Since the balsamic vinegar is the star in this, I want to get something good. Thank you!
Look near the balsamic vinegar for balsamic glaze. It’s thick, slightly sweet and adds flavor to everything. It’s a little pricey but it lasts forever and is so worth it.
With balsamic, it's tricky. Lots of vinegars out there are labled balsamic but aren't really balsamic. They're just plain vinegar with sugar and food coloring added. So read labels.
As for brands, it varies, but frankly what you are looking for is age. The longer a balsamic has been aged, the sweeter, thicker and more syrupy it gets. That's the balsamic you use in non-cooking applications. Such as drizzling over fruit, dipping your bread in, pairing with cheese and the like. Those bottles will be expensive, yes. But it's used sparingly. For everyday applications as long as you are using a real balsamic all the brands are pretty similar. I have used the higher priced stuff as well as store brands and don't notice much difference. If you have a Trader Joes near you, they have an excellent every day balsamic.
How about "Whiskey" for the chicken whisk?
How about Colonel?