Get your greens in with this delicious arugula pasta salad with roasted tomatoes! Not only is it healthy and easy to make, but it's also vegan and plant-based. A win-win for your taste buds and your body!
Arugula Pasta Salad is one of those recipes that instantly became a family favorite. Honestly, I've been patting myself on the back for this vegan arugula salad recipe ever since I first made it. I think it was the garlic-infused roasted tomatoes that really set the self-congratulatory train in motion.
I first became smitten with roasted tomatoes when I made Roasted Tomato & Chicken Sausage Whole Wheat Pasta. If you haven't had a chance to try that recipe, I encourage you to do so...like, tonight. Once you do the prep work for the tomatoes, which takes about 5 minutes, let them linger in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they're soft and slightly sweet.
Once the tomatoes are done, all that's left to do is quickly whisking together the dressing ingredients (making your own dressing is easier than you think) and tossing all of the ingredients together.
What does arugula taste like?
Arugula has a fresh, slightly peppery taste. It pairs well with the touch of sweetness in the dressing and the garlicky tomatoes. However, If arugula really isn't your thing, feel free to substitute spinach or even romaine lettuce.
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Ingredients for arugula and tomato pasta salad
- TOMATOES: I used Roma tomatoes, but the vine-ripened tomatoes found in most supermarkets work just as well.
- PASTA: Use a sturdy pasta shape that can hold up to the arugula and roasted tomatoes, such as fusilli, penne, or rotini. I chose to use whole wheat pasta.
- ARUGULA: Use fresh arugula for the best flavor and texture.
- BEANS: Use cannellini beans, Great Northern beans or white kidney beans.
- SEASONING: For seasoning the tomatoes, use dried oregano, fresh garlic, salt and pepper
- DRESSING: The dressing is a mixture of balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, agave nectar (or honey – not vegan), dried rosemary, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
Substitutions and Additions
▪️ PASTA: Use a different type of pasta, such as regular semolina pasta or gluten-free pasta, to suit your dietary needs.
▪️ TOMATOES: Use vine-ripened tomatoes, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes instead of Roma. Cut the cherry and grape tomatoes in half lengthwise.
▪️ ARUGULA: If you can't find arugula, you can use spinach or mixed greens instead.
▪️ NUTS: If you like a little crunch in your salad, sprinkle in some toasted nuts or seeds, such as almonds, pine nuts or sunflower seeds.
How to make arugula pasta salad
ROAST THE TOMATOES: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. If using foil, lightly coat it with cooking spray. For the parchment paper, check the box to double check that it's safe to use that brand at 450 degrees F or higher.
Arrange the tomatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
Roast the tomatoes until they are slightly shriveled and soft. That should take 15 to 20 minutes. Give them a rough chop and set aside.
MAKE THE DRESSING: The dressing is a basic balsamic vinaigrette (like my favorite homemade dressing), with the addition of drizzle of agave nectar and rosemary. Honey or maple syrup could be used in place of the agave nectar. Please note that honey is not considered to be vegan. So, if the goal is a plant-based dinner salad, stick with the agave nectar or maple syrup.
COOK THE PASTA: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Don't overcook the pasta. Al dente pasta has a firmer texture and will hold up better in the salad. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water. You want cold pasta for the salad so it doesn’t wilt the arugula.
COMBINE AND DRESS: Combine all of the ingredients – arugula, tomatoes, Make sure the roasted tomatoes are cooled to room temperature before adding them to the salad. This will prevent the arugula from wilting.
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:
To save time, you can roast the tomatoes, cook the pasta and make the dressing in advance and store them separately in the refrigerator for up to 3 days until you're ready to assemble the salad.
What to serve with this salad
This salad is a delicious and satisfying meal on its own, but you can also serve it with some additional sides or toppings to make it even more filling. Here are a few suggestions:
- Grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, or eggplant.
- Crusty bread or garlic bread.
- A side of fresh fruit, such as sliced watermelon or berries.
- A sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast for added flavor.
If serving the salad as a side dish, try it with some of these entrées:
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use other types of vinegar, such as white balsamic, red wine or champagne.
Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta to make this salad gluten-free.
Yes, this salad is vegan and plant-based, as long as no cheese or meat is added. If substituting another sweetener for the agave nectar in the dressing, take care not to use honey. It's not considered to be vegan.
Sure, you can use any type of greens you prefer, such as baby spinach, kale, or mixed greens.
Other Recipes With Arugula
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and comment underneath the recipe card below. Thank you!
Arugula Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes
- 6 unces whole wheat rotini pasta
- 4 cups arugula
- 1 cup cannellini beans or great northern beans
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, and sprinkle them with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Roast until the tomatoes are slightly shriveled and soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, agave (or honey), rosemary, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until combined.
- Cook the rotini according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain again.
- In a large bowl, combine the arugula, pasta, cannellini beans and roasted tomatoes.
- Pour in the dressing and toss to coat the salad. Divide between 4 plates and serve.
This post was originally published on February 17, 2014, and updated on May 3, 2023.
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