This Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad is the perfect quick and easy side or main dish to make this summer! Full of sweet, juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, basil and chunks of avocado. Tossed together in a no-cook, creamy and healthy avocado basil dressing.
Thanks to my friends at the American Dairy Association Mideast for sponsoring this post. As always all opinions are my own.
Do you like to eat cold pasta salads year-round or just in the summer? I’m definitely more of a summer only pasta salad girl and save the warm pasta dishes, like this Chicken Piccata Pasta for the cooler months. Eating hot food when it’s 90 degrees outside isn’t very appealing to me.
Today I’m sharing a recipe for a creamy pasta salad that will be the perfect side dish for all your summer barbecues. Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad. Usually when you think of a creamy pasta salad, you don’t think about it being healthy. Well, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that this one is full of healthy ingredients and there’s no mayonnaise in it in case you’re not a fan.
Ingredients Needed For the Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad
- Pasta. The shape is up to you, I like to use rotini, shells or macaroni.
- Cherry tomatoes or whatever tomatoes look/taste best
- Mini fresh mozzarella balls
- Fresh basil
- Greek yogurt
- Garlic powder
There aren’t a lot of ingredients in this pasta salad, but you’ll be amazed at how much flavor is in it. Keep in mind, when you’re making a dish that doesn’t use a lot of ingredients, make sure the ones you are using are the best you can find.
What Makes the Avocado Sauce Creamy (and Healthy)?
When you think of pasta salads with a creamy consistency, you generally aren’t thinking of them as healthy. Think of all macaroni and potato salads you’ve eaten that have been drowning in mayonnaise.
Well, this pasta salad uses two ingredients that not only make it luscious and creamy, but loaded with protein and healthy fat as well. The first is obviously the avocado. It’s full of healthy fats, vitamins and fiber. The second ingredient is Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt not only adds more creaminess and a little tang, but is high in protein. The protein will help to keep you fuller longer, and it packs in dairy’s 9 essential nutrients. Six ounces of Greek yogurt typically contains 14–17 grams of protein. Since there is already plenty of fat from the avocado in this salad, I used non-fat Greek yogurt. However, feel free to use low-fat or full fat, it will just make the dressing even creamier!
How to Make the Pasta Salad
Making this avocado pasta salad is easy, however, you will need either a blender or food processor.
- Cook the pasta then rinse it under cold water and drain. Normally I don’t rinse pasta unless I’m making a cold pasta salad.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, Greek yogurt, basil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blend or purée until smooth.
- In a large serving bowl add the pasta, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and basil. Pour the avocado dressing in and stir until everything is coated. Add in the diced avocado and gently stir it in. Taste for seasoning and serve.
Mini (Fresh) Mozzarella Balls – If you can’t find fresh mini mozzarella balls you can buy a big ball of fresh mozzarella and dice it. If money is a concern, use a block of mozzarella cheese and cut it into cubes. You could even use sharp cheddar if mozzarella isn’t available. I would encourage you to use the fresh mozzarella if possible, it has a wonderful taste and texture.
Fresh Basil – Fresh basil can be replaced with a tablespoon or two of pesto in a pinch. Fresh should be fairly easy to find right now since it’s in season. Better yet, buy a plant and grow your own!
Pasta – Regular, Gluten-free or whole wheat pasta all work for this recipe. I suggest using a smaller shaped pasta and one that will hold the avocado sauce. Rotini, shells or macaroni are my top picks.
This Tomato Avocado Pasta Salad is a great way to use summer produce and keep what’s often thought of as a calorie/fat bomb side dish healthy. It’s also a great way to get in a serving of dairy and all the health benefits dairy has to offer. For more information about dairy nutrition, new recipes to make and to meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, visit www.Drink-MIlk.com, and follow
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta, such as rotini, shells or macaroni
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- 1/2 cup diced avocado
Avocado Basil Dressing
- 1 whole avocado, peeled and seed removed
- 1/3 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt
- 1-2 tablespoons of water to thin out the dressing if it's too thick
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta then rinse it under cold water and drain. Add it to a large serving bowl along with the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls and chopped basil.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the dressing ingredients and blend or purée until smooth. Taste for seasoning then pour the avocado sauce in with the salad ingredients and stir until everything is coated.
- Add in the diced avocado and gently stir it in. Taste for seasoning and serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
The pasta salad is best made the day you plan to eat it. The longer it sits the more likely it is that the avocado will discolor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 165mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 19g