This is a classic family-favorite pasta salad that I have been making versions of for years! I love the broccoli, cheddar flavors with the Dijon mustard herb vinaigrette. It’s light and tasty! A great side-dish for all your BBQ parties and summer-time get togethers.
I love to shred the cheese, chop the veggies and blend the dressing with the fresh herbs right in my food processor. Makes this salad come together so quickly. I’m also a fan of how the finely chopped veggies are easy to eat and kind of work their way into the nooks and crannies of the pasta.
It’s great to make ahead a couple days! I usually stir about half the dressing in when I make it, then stir in some more before serving as the pasta will absorb some of the dressing (and absorb great flavor too!)
Broccoli Cheddar Pasta Salad
Pasta & Cheese
- 1 (14 ounce) box pasta (rotini works well) I use the Barilla yellow box – protein/fiber + blend
- 4 ounces cheddar, shredded
Veggies to Prep:
The below veggies I usually pulse in my food processor to chop them finely. I cut the onion, carrot and red pepper to about 1 1/2 inch pieces before processing. I layer the onion and the carrot on the bottom as I like them chopped more finely.
- 1/4 small red onion about 1/4 cup
- 1 medium carrot
- 3 cups broccoli florets* from 1 small head
- 1/2 red bell pepper
Dressing: you can leave the herbs in larger sprigs when blending with a food processor, chopper or blender.
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives*
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley* minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill* minced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon table salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3/4 cup oil I use olive or avocado
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. (I generally only rinse pasta when making pasta salads.)
- Combine the cooked pasta, shredded cheddar and chopped veggies in a large bowl.
- Blend or stir together the dressing ingredients.
- I usually add about half the dressing to start. Then I add some more before serving. (It will absorb some when you make it ahead – can be made a day or 2 ahead.) Taste before serving and add more salt and pepper to taste.