Now that the weather is heating up, it’s the perfect time to whip up a big batch of pasta salad. This Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad is almost no-cook which is perfect this time of year, and it comes together so quick and easy you’ll want to make it all the time. What’s the secret? It’s as simple as opening a jar!Jump to Recipe
Our Olive Tapenade is not only a delicious dip or spread it works wonderfully with pasta. Swap out your jar of marinara for our Olive Tapenade and you’ve got yourself an easy dressing/sauce that works with both hot, or in this case cold, pasta. Throw in a few accompaniments like veggies, nuts, herbs, or cheese and put it on repeat all summer long.
How to make Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad
Here’s what you’ll need:
The Pasta – Short cut pasta works best in pasta salad. You want a shape that has lots of nooks and crannies to catch all the dressing. Think farfalle, fusilli or rotini.
The Dressing – This really is the easy part. Simply mix a jar of our Olive Tapenade with some Red Wine Vinegar and olive oil for a simple and tasty dressing. You can pick some up at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market or select wineries and specialty food shops throughout Western Canada. Or of course you can always order online.
The Accompaniments – This is where you get to mix it up and have a little fun. Use what you have in the fridge or play around with different add-ins every time you make it. Today we’re using cherry tomatoes, mixed olives, marinated artichoke hearts, cucumber, pine nuts and marinated bocconcini. We even reused the olive oil from the bocconcini to make the dressing. If you wanted to make it a little heartier, you could add in grilled chicken, tuna, or even chickpeas would be great.
Tips for cooking the pasta
- Cook it in extra-salty water. Serving food cold tends to mute its flavors, so you want to make sure your pasta is well-seasoned as it cooks.
- Cook the pasta a little longer. Since you’re not cooking it in sauce and serving it warm, cook the pasta a minute longer than you normally would, but don’t let it get mushy. Pasta gets hard and chewy as it cools, so this extra cooking time will keep it moist.
- Add the dressing while it’s still warm. If you toss the pasta with the dressing while it’s still a little warm, it’ll absorb the dressing better and be more flavorful.
To make the pasta Salad
Start off by cooking your pasta according to the package instructions. Remember to cook it about one minute longer
While the pasta is cooking you can prep your other ingredients. Mix the tapenade with the red wine vinegar and olive oil. Chop your cucumber, shallots and tomatoes. Toast your pine nuts and tear some pieces of basil so they’re bite sized.
Once your pasta is cooked and drained, combine everything together in a big bowl, toss with tapenade and either serve immediately, or place in the fridge, covered, until you’re ready to eat it.
This is a nice recipe for prepping ahead of time for parties or even work lunches. The pasta holds up really well in the fridge and would be great to make on a Sunday for the week ahead. It actually takes on even more flavor as the salad sits!
Olive Tapenade Pasta Salad
- 500 g Short Cut Pasta
- 1 jar Taste of the Okanagan Olive Tapenade
- 2/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 Shallots finely diced
- 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 1 Cucumber diced
- 1 jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
- 2 cups Mozzaralla Balls I like the marinated ones
- 1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
- 3/4 cup Mixed Greek Olives pitted
- 4 Pepperoncini Peppers thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta 1 minute longer than the package directions.
- Mix Taste of the Okanagan Olive Tapenade with Red Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to a large bowl. Add all the other ingredients and pour over the dressing. Toss while it's still warm.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.