This Easy Broccolini and Beans Pasta Salad Recipe is so delicious for a weeknight dinner. Bonus: it’s ready in 30 minutes! This is the perfect pasta salad that doesn’t feel like a pasta salad. It’s balanced with greens and umami accents that will make this your new favorite healthy pasta salad.
Ingredients for this Easy Broccolini and Beans Pasta Salad
This homemade pasta salad is ready in 30 minutes and is a great dish for your weeknight menu. Here are the fresh ingredients we need to make this delicious pasta salad:
- Broccolini: We’re using the broccolini we got in this week’s CSA produce box. You can use a regular head of broccoli too though I love how tender the broccolini gets when roasted.
- Broccoli leaves: These are a great find at the farmer’s market or if you can find them at the grocery store. This was another CSA produce box item that we wanted to make sure we used this week and it’s a great compliment to our favorite pasta salad.
- Umami Accents: A good salad has umami packed accents and is the best way to amp up the flavor of any salad. Here, we’re using sun dried tomatoes to offer chewy texture and a delicious salty bite.
- Creamy White Beans: Canned or dried beans work well. Butter beans, Navy Beans, or Cannellini Beans are all good options. Use what you have and this will be a great protein addition to this delicious pasta salad.
- Toasted Breadcrumbs: Quick bread crumbs toasted up in a bit of olive oil and a few dried or fresh herbs are a good idea to add some crispy texture to this pasta salad.
- Lemon Parmesan Dressing: This flavorful dressing is a switch up from mayonnaise-based pasta salads and a mayonnaise-based dressing. For this salad dressing, we’re using an oil-based dressing that is vibrant with lemon juice and white wine vinegar. The dressing has a hint of sweetness from local honey and has that umami accent of freshly grated parmesan that makes for a delicious salad dressing that works well here.
Easy Preparation for this Pasta Salad Ready in 30 Minutes
To prepare one of the best pasta salads you’ll make this season, we’ll start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the broccolini under cold water and trim off the hardy edges of the stems. Arrange the broccolini evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Roast the broccolini for about 20 minutes, until edges are crisp and the broccolini is tender.
While the broccolini roasts, cook your chosen type of pasta according to package instructions. In this recipe, we’re using orzo. Once cooked al dente, drain the cooked pasta and set to the side. Prep the broccoli greens by removing the leaves from stems and rinsing the leaves in cold water before drying them and giving them a rough chop. To tenderize the leaves, place the broccoli greens in a large bowl and massage the leaves in a bit of lemon juice and olive oil.
Next, prep the oil-based salad dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and honey until well combined. Season with kosher salt and pepper and add in the grated parmesan cheese. Whisk it all together until well combined. Once the broccolini is roasted and the pasta is cooked, assembling the salad is easy. Toss all the remaining salad ingredients together and serve.
Pasta Salad Storage and FAQ
This pasta salad will rival any store-bought pasta salad and makes an excellent addition for your summer barbecues. With gatherings in mind, here are a few simple tips and answers to frequently asked questions for maximizing the shelf life of pasta salad while ensuring you reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
- How long can pasta salad last? In the refrigerator, leftover pasta salad can hold in an airtight container for 3-5 days. The shelf life of your pasta salad will also depend on the dressing type and the variety of other ingredients used. For instance, a dairy free pasta salad will last up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- How long can pasta salad sit out if at a party? A majority of pasta salads can sit out at room temperature for up to 2 hours per FDA and USDA guidelines. Anything longer than that increases the risk of harmful bacteria to begin to build jeopardizing food safety. If the pasta salad is going to sit out longer, make sure to practice proper storage techniques and keep the delicious dish in the refrigerator when not serving it.
- Can I use other pasta types besides orzo? Yes! You can use different types of pasta including your favorite gluten-free pasta if desired.
More Dinner Salad Inspiration
Dinner salads are always an easy and delicious option for speedy weeknights. Here are a few more great options to add to your dinner salad rotation:
- This Watermelon Salad is an excellent idea for a hot summer day.
- A grated carrot and beet salad is a hearty option for winter with a blood orange vinaigrette that is simply delicious.
Easy Broccolini and Beans Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 pound broccolini
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salad Base Ingredients
- 1 bunch broccoli greens stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1/2 lemon + 1 tablespoon olive oil to tenderize broccoli leaves
- 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons chopped Sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs crisped up with olive oil and
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Lemon Parmesan Dressing
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash and trim broccolini to remove hardy stems and arrange evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss together to coat broccolini in oil and seasonings. Roast for 20 minutes, until edges are slightly charred and veggies are soft.
- Once the broccolini is roasted and edges are slightly crisp, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before giving the broccolini a rough chop. Add broccolini to the large bowl with the tenderized broccoli leaves. (see below for step to tenderize broccoli leaves)
Cook Pasta and Prep Salad Greens
- While the broccolini roasts, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the orzo. Cook pasta until al dente, about 6 or 7 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.
- Prep the broccoli greens but removing the leaves from the stems and giving the leaves a good rinse. Dry the leaves and use a sharp knife to roughly chop the leaves into bit size pieces. Add broccoli leaves to a large bowl. Squeeze out the juice of half a lemon over the broccoli greens and drizzle a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the greens. Massage the greens to begin tenderizing the leaves. Allow the broccoli greens to sit and marinate in the lemon juice and olive oil while preparing the salad dressing and remaining ingredients.
Prep Salad Dressing
- Prep the dressing by whisking together the lemon juice, white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey (or maple syrup), salt and pepper, and olive oil together until well emulsified. Add in the grated parmesan and whisk together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Set dressing to the side.
- Toast breadcrumbs in a small skillet for about 3 to 5 minutes with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and all the dried seasonings. Toast until golden brown and crispy. Alternatively, you can toast up Italian seasoned bread crumbs if you have those on hand instead. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
- Assemble the remaining salad ingredients by adding in the cannellini beans, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and cooked orzo pasta to bowl with the roasted broccolini and tenderized greens. Add half the toasted breadcrumbs and using salad tongs begin tossing salad ingredients to combine. Add in salad dressing and give it another toss before portioning salad in bowls and garnishing with more crispy breadcrumbs and grated parmesan, if desired.