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This easy Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad is a crowd-pleasing side dish for any occasion!Imagine this scenario: It’s the weekend and the weather outside is absolutely beautiful. You’ve just been invited to a neighbor’s house for an impromptu summertime gathering. What do you bring to the cookout? (Answer: This delicious Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad!) In about thirty minutes you can cook up this easy, creamy pasta salad. And its can be made with ingredients that you probably have on hand most of the time in your refrigerator and pantry. (Or, there are lots of easy swaps if you are missing an ingredient or two.)
How do you make Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad?You’ll start by blanching fresh broccoli florets in boiling water – just long enough remove the raw taste. Plunge the broccoli in an ice bath (aka cold ice water). This stops the cooking process and leaving the broccoli nice and crisp, as well as a vivid green color. Next, cook the pasta according to package instructions. We chose farfalle (or bowtie) pasta because its shape holds the dressing in this Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad quite nicely, but any favorite pasta shape will work. Drain, then cool your pasta under cold running water. This stops the cooking, as well as prevents the gluten in the pasta from sticking together. Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl, along with the broccoli, toasted walnuts, shredded cheddar cheese, red seedless grapes, and thinly sliced red onion. Finally, pour over a homemade pasta salad dressing made with mayonnaise, cider vinegar, olive oil, and a variety of seasonings including onion and garlic powder, celery salt, poppy seeds, white pepper and dry mustard. We also added a little bit of granulated sugar for a hint of sweetness. Mix, then chill until ready to serve.
SubstitutionsThis Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad can be easily adapted based on what you have in your cabinets. We mentioned above that you can really use any type of pasta you have on hand. If you don’t have broccoli, consider swapping in blanched cauliflower florets instead. Or, cabbage or another green leafy vegetable such as spinach, kale or Brussels sprouts could work too. And, if you don’t have grapes on hand, swap in diced apples, or mandarin oranges. And walnuts can be swapped out for toasted pecans or almonds. You may enjoy these other Pasta Salads:
- Creamy Italian Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Fresh Vegetable Pasta Salad
- Avocado Chicken Pasta Salad
2 teaspoons kosher salt, to salt the water
1 pound broccoli florets
½ pound dry farfalle pasta or pasta of your choice
1 cup walnut halves left whole, toasted in a dry pan until lightly golden
1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 cups red grapes (cut in half if large)
1 cup mayonnaise
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Place a 5-6 quart pot of water on to boil.
Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Once water is boiling, add kosher salt then add broccoli. Count 90 seconds then use spider or strainer and remove the broccoli to the ice water bath.
Bring water back to a boil and add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain and cool with cold running water.
Remove broccoli to drain and dry completely on paper towels, squeezing out any excess water.
Also dry off pasta with paper towels after shaking off excess water from strainer.
Place pasta, broccoli, toasted walnuts, cheddar cheese, onions and grapes in a large bowl.
Place all dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to combine then pour into large bowl with other ingredients.
Mix and refrigerate until service.
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