Sonoma Pasta Salad

If you’re looking for a pasta salad that’s on the healthier side, here’s one for you to try—the Sonoma Pasta Salad! It has lots of colorful veggies mixed with multigrain pasta and a dash of balsamic vinegar for a slightly-sweet, slightly-tart flavor. And it’s topped with some chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese…yum! This pasta salad really is very tasty and it doesn’t take long to make—only about 35 minutes, from start to finish.

This recipe is from The New Sonoma Cookbook, which actually isn’t that new anymore, since it was published in 2011. But it’s still a great cookbook filled with lots of healthy recipes. I had done a review on this book when it first came out and thought I’d repost this recipe because it’s such a good one!

Sonoma Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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SONOMA PASTA SALAD from The New Sonoma Cookbook                

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces fresh green beans or 3 cups frozen whole green beans
  • 8 ounces dried multigrain penne (such as Barilla Plus)
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large red and/or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
  • 1 Tablespoon bottled minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (or you can use julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes, which is what I used–and since I love sun-dried tomatoes, I actually doubled the amount and used 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, flat-leaf parsley, and/or oregano, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut up
  • Fresh basil leaves (optional)

1. If using fresh green beans: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1 Tablespoon salt; then add fresh green beans. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain beans; place immediately in ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, drain well and set aside.

2. In a large Dutch oven, combine 2 quarts water and 1 Tablespoon kosher salt; bring to boiling. Add pasta. Cook according to pasta package directions, adding frozen green beans (if using) for the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add pepper strips; cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds more. Add dried tomatoes, basil, and the drained green beans and pasta. Cook, tossing frequently, until heated through. Stir in balsamic vinegar and enough of the reserved pasta liquid to moisten pasta to desired consistency (I only added about a Tablespoon). Season to taste with additional kosher salt and black pepper. Top with cheese. If desired, garnish with fresh basil.


  • Use leftover cooked green beans or broccoli.
  • Replace green beans with spinach.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Sterling Publishers |

This is a great dish for lunch or dinner…or make it for dinner and have leftovers for lunch!
Do you have a favorite healthy pasta salad that you like making?

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