This strawberry balsamic pasta salad is a simple, fresh, and delicious warm-weather side or main dish. This version is gluten-free and can be made paleo and AIP.Strawberry balsamic pasta salad in pink bowl

Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

It just isn’t a cookout without pasta salad! Typically, pasta salad is made with a creamy, dairy-based dressing like mayo, ranch dressing, or yogurt, but it doesn’t have to be!

This balsamic pasta salad is made with a balsamic dressing, and fresh ingredients like strawberries, red onion, and avocado, and arugula. It’s also made with gluten-free pasta so anyone at the party can enjoy it. It can be served as a side dish or a main dish!

The Ingredients Needed for Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

  • Gluten-free pasta. I used Jovial farfalle pasta, but you can also use Jovial grain-free fusilli to make this recipe paleo and AIP-friendly.
  • Strawberries. This is what gives the salad its signature tart sweetness.
  • Chicken breast. You’ll want to cook this ahead of time and cube it so it’s easy to mix into the recipe.
  • Arugula.
  • Goat cheese. This is an optional ingredient if you tolerate dairy. You can either leave this out or sub in a dairy-free cheese like this AIP mozzarella! 
  • Red onion.
  • Avocado.
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This is what makes the dairy-free dressing for this pasta salad!

Up close image of strawberry balsamic pasta salad in pink bowlHow to make Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

  • Cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as directed. Strain and set aside, tossing in a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  • Prepare the dressing. While the pasta cooks, prep the dressing by combining 1/3 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Prepare the pasta salad by combining the pasta, chicken, strawberries, red onion, arugula, dressing, and optional cheese. Toss to combine, carefully stirring in the avocado at the end. Serve lightly chilled.

Strawberry balsamic pasta salad in bowl on counter

 

What can you serve with this dish?

This can be served on its own as a main dish or a side dish! It would also pair perfectly with something like this One Pan Balsamic Peach Chicken or these Blueberry Balsamic Chicken Thighs.

Can you make this dish ahead of time?

This pasta salad is best fresh so if you want to make it ahead of time I would recommend keeping all the components separate and then combining them just before serving.

How do you store this pasta salad?

If you’re not going to be serving the entire pasta salad fresh, the best way to store this pasta salad is to separate the pasta, the dressing, the chicken, and the vegetables. Not only does the pasta get a bit hard in the fridge and needs some reheating before serving again, but the arugula can get soggy if sitting in the dressing for too long.

Can you make this without the cheese?

You can! The cheese adds a lot of flavor, but you can either omit it altogether or add a bit of nutritional yeast if you prefer.

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Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad


  • Author: Michelle
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz gluten-free fusilli pasta (I use Jovial rice pasta, or cassava pasta for AIP/Paleo)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries, quartered
  • 1 lb chicken breast (or thigh), cooked and cubed
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 3 tbsp goat cheese (omit for paleo/AIP)

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot 3/4ths of the way with water and salt. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook as directed until cooked to your liking. Strain and set aside, tossing in a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking and to allow to cool.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prep the dressing by combining 1/3 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the pasta salad by combining the pasta, chicken, strawberries, red onion, arugula, dressing, and optional cheese. Toss to combine, carefully stirring in the avocado at the end. Serve lightly chilled.

Notes

All nutrition facts are estimated and will vary.

  • Category: Main Dishes

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 475
  • Fat: 27.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 29g
  • Fiber: 3.9g
  • Protein: 31g