A pasta salad with fruit, celery, and pecans. The homemade dressing is simple and has NO MAYO!
Fruit plus pasta is definitely a unique combination, but it is so delicious! This salad is inspired by a local cafe known for their pasta salads. When they put whole grapes and berries in one of their pasta salad creations, I had to try it. It has quickly become one of my favorite salads and so I definitely had to re-create it for the blog.
Their famous salad also has some quickly blanched broccoli, so that’s a great addition as well if you’re feeling ambitious. For this recipe, I’ve opted for a slightly simpler version — grapes, dried cranberries, strawberries, celery, and pecans are the only toppings you’ll need. Toss ’em with the pasta and the most delicious lemon poppyseed dressing (with NO MAYO) and I think you’ll be just as obsessed with fruity pasta salads!
Lemon Poppyseed Pasta Salad
- 1/2 of 1 full box (so use 8 ounces) Bowtie Pasta
- 1 and 1/2 cups chopped strawberries stems removed
- 1 and 1/2 cups red grapes sliced in half
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans* or sub slivered almonds
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 2-3 large lemons
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard do not use any substitutes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
- 2/3 cup olive oil or vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon poppyseeds
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cool water.
Meanwhile prepare the ingredients - chop the strawberries (remove stems), halve the grapes, chop the celery, and coarsely chop the pecans.
Combine the strawberries, grapes, celery, pecans, and dried cranberries in a large bowl with the completely cooled pasta. Toss together.
Meanwhile prepare the dressing: Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, onion powder, dijon mustard, salt and sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend or pulse until completely smooth. Slowly pour in the oil and blend.
If not enjoying immediately, do not add the dressing until right before eating.
When ready to enjoy, toss the dressing with the salad. You may not use it all, so add to desired preference and save any remaining dressing for other salads.
*I like to toast the pecans. To do this, spread them evenly in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir around for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Be careful because the nuts can very easily go from toasted to scorched.
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