Picnics are back.

With our current need to stay physically distanced from one another, al fresco dining is a great option. Old fashioned picnics can be a fun way to bring a small group together in the fresh air, and still enjoy each other’s company while distancing and staying healthy.

A DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) meal plan goal is to add more vegetables into your diet. Why not take a basic pasta salad and “veg it up”? Try my Very Veggies Pasta Salad. I like to think of it as a veggie salad with pasta, as opposed to a pasta salad with veggies.

No ratings yet

Very Veggie Pasta Salad

This pasta salad is light on pasta and heavy on veggies. Enjoy it at your next picnic.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Rosanne Rust MS RDN, www.rustnutrition.com


  • 6 oz spring pasta You can use regular, whole wheat, tri-color, or a combination.
  • 1 jar marinated artichokes drained
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers assorted colors
  • 1 small can sliced black olives drained
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber halved
  • 1 small can chick peas drained
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt-free Italian herb blend
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and let cool
  • Place artichokes through chick peas into a large serving bowl and toss. Add cooled, cooked pasta and mix to combine.
  • To make the dressing, mix olive oil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl or glass jar. Stir to combine.
  • Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss well. Gently fold in the sunflower seeds and feta cheese. Add more freshly ground black pepper if you like.
  • Chill for at least one hour, or up to overnight. Serve.