Frugal & Delicious Italian Pasta Salad (plus 10 other pasta and pasta sauce recipes!)

Italian pasta salad

With the heat of summer upon us, our appetites tend toward lighter meals. Our family works together on our 27 acre vineyard  (you can follow our adventures at my blog, Cultured Palate) and with the temperatures reaching into the 100’sF, we are not hungry for a heavy meal. So, salad meals are on the menu!

But, salad meals consisting of primarily lettuce just do not fill up growing teenagers – at least not mine – for very long! I have had to find other cool, refreshing salad meals and they usually include beans and/or pasta. Add to that a homemade salad dressing with good-for-you oil and some homemade bread lathered in real butter and you have a healthy, filling meal!

Feeding a large family can be challenging, especially on a budget.  I normally take a recipe and triple or quadruple it. You probably know how it goes, when you begin to multiply a recipe, many times the spices are just not quite right. Often you can not just multiply the spices, it may be too spicy. Taste testing certainly has its place in my kitchen – a little bit of this and a little bit of that, taste it and repeat!

But, with pasta, it is so easy to just throw more noodles in the pot and adjust the other ingredients accordingly – tasting as I go, of course! Pasta is economical, healthy and filling – that is important with teenage boys! Which makes this recipe (plus the following recipes ideas) perfect for the 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet series.

Here are ten other frugal and nourishing pasta or pasta sauce recipes from The Nourishing Gourmet:

1. Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles

2. Soaked Handkerchief Noodles

3. Homemade Soaked Noodles 

4. Fresh Clam and Herb Sauce  

5. Quick and Easy Marinara Sauce 

6. Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce 

7. White Bean and Kale over Pasta with Smokey Bacon

8. Asian Noodle Salad 

9. Pasta with Creme Fraiche and Salmon 

10. Weekend Pasta Feast (with grilled vegetables.

(Kimi notes: The first edition of the Everyday Nourishing Food contains several simple, super nourishing and delicious pasta sauce recipes and for a limited time you can buy it as part of a bundle with my salad cook for a big savings using these coupon codes

In the following recipe, regular pasta or specialty pastas like gluten free, whole grain or even homemade all work well. Kimi did a comparison of 4 grain-free noodles and of the four types reviewed, the zucchini noodles would work for the following recipe if cut into smaller pieces. As you can see in the photo above, I used garden rotini pasta.

For a variation of the Italian Pasta Salad, try adding kidney beans or pinto beans as they taste great!

Frugal & Delicious Italian Pasta Salad (plus 10 other pasta and pasta sauce recipes!)
  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 1 can (6oz) black olives, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 c cheese, grated (Parmesan or cheddar)
  • 1 c Italian dressing ( recipe below)
  • Homemade Dressing:
  • ⅔ c olive oil
  • ⅓ c raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. basil
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Pour homemade dressing over the salad and mix well.
  4. Refrigerate and serve cold.
  5. Enjoy!


Hi, I am Dina-Marie, the mother of 10 children, 7 of whom are still at home. I live in West Texas with my husband who also happens to be my best friend. We decided to make a lifestyle change in 2008 and left the corporate world of southern Alabama and moved to West Texas. We now have 27 acres of grapes, 2 family milk cows, chickens and raise our own beef. Working the vineyard together as a family is hard work but very rewarding.

Moving to West Texas to begin a vineyard has brought many changes including a return to health through the GAPS diet, learning about “real” food and becoming a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation.

Cooking REAL food for a large family has been challenging and fun. I love trying new recipes and sharing them with others. I have a passion to spread the healing potential of real traditional food, as well as, to encourage others with a nutrient dense diet and simple family living.

I would love to have you follow our adventure in real food and vineyard life at my blog, Cultured Palate.


  1. Annie says

    It looks wonderful. In Spain, if you order a pasta salad this will be basically what you will get, with some chopped hardboiled egg too. I like to take this for picnics because it’s good at room temperature.

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