Bruschetta Pasta Salad

Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Kayla Berman

If you’re looking for a light, bright, almost no-cook recipe for your next summer dinner, look no further than this delectable Bruschetta Pasta Salad recipe. Made with just 10 simple ingredients (like pasta shells, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar), this quick and easy fuss-free fresh tomato pasta will be on the table in just 40 minutes or less. It is colorful, flavorful, and delicious too … sure to be a total crowd pleaser!

super closeup shot of bruschetta pasta salad in a white serving bowl with a silver spoon.

About This Recipe

When it comes to summer produce, tomatoes are always a favorite. From my rich n’ creamy burrata caprese to light and bright chicken pomodoro, tangy goat cheese bruschetta to my orzo pesto tomato pasta, chances are you’re always gonna find some evidence of my favorite fruit-meets-vegetable on the dinner table from June-September. 

This delectable pasta bruschetta salad is yet another variation on the juicy theme. Fresh tomato pasta sauce clings to perfectly al dente noodles, perfect for serving as a BBQ side or as a main dish

Aside from being packed to the brim with zippy tomato flavor, this pasta salad with bruschetta sauce is also:

  • Quick & Easy – You’ll basically be done by the time your noodles are finished boiling. At most (and this is if you’re being very lackadaisical about your prep), dinner will be on the table in just 40 minutes.
  • Almost No-Cook – Aside from boiling a pot of water to cook your pasta, there’s no heat involved in this colorful summer dish.
  • Made With Only 10 Ingredients – And I can basically guarantee you already have half of what you need on hand.
  • Refreshing & Nourishing – If you’re looking for summer in salad form, this cherry tomato pasta salad is IT.

It is the ultimate savory summer salad! If you’re looking for its sweet counterpart check out my stone fruit salad.

overhead image of cherry tomato pasta salad in a white serving bowl.

Ingredients & Substitutions

As promised, you only need a few simple, easy-to-find ingredients to make this chilled bruschetta pasta recipe. Here’s what to grab:

  • Dry Pasta – I tend to prefer shorter pasta shapes for pasta salad since they’re easier to stab with a fork and don’t require any twirling. If possible, small shells (a.k.a. conchigliette) are preferred because they act like little pockets to hold the fresh, garlicky tomato sauce.
  • Cherry Tomatoes – These snack-sized tomatoes are my favorite all year long. Feel free to use multicolored cherry tomatoes for more visual pop. You can also swap in grape tomatoes or use chopped meaty tomatoes like Roma instead.
  • Red Onion – For some allium piquancy and sharpness. You’re welcome to swap in shallots for a milder flavor, or use yellow or white onions instead.
  • Garlic – Though I love the mild sweetness that shelf-stable garlic powder brings to any flavor party, this is a situation where fresh garlic is necessary. The spiciness of the raw garlic helps to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes and gives the basil tomato pasta salad its real bruschetta vibes.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Is a plate of noodles even pasta if there isn’t some parmesan cheese on it?!? Asking for a friend. 🤔Either way, a sprinkle of some creamy, salty, nutty, umami goodness definitely levels this fresh tomato pasta up a notch.
  • Fresh Basil – You know the saying “if it grows together it goes together?” Nothing could be truer of fresh tomatoes and basil. They’re basically the Han Solo and Chewbacca of the food world, working to restore freedom to the galaxy your tastebuds.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Use the best possible balsamic vinegar you can get your hands on. It should be thick, almost syrupy, sweet, and a rich, dark brown. At the very least, make sure you’re getting pure balsamic vinegar. Ideally, it should contain only grape must (cooked grape juice) and perhaps some wine vinegar. Avoid brands that include additives, caramel, or thickening agents.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Again, this is a good spot to use your “splurge” ingredients. If you have a fancy bottle of cold-pressed finishing oil, now’s the time to grab it.
  • Salt & Black Pepper – I prefer using wide-flaked kosher salt for easy seasoning and freshly cracked black pepper for the most pungent flavor.


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ingredients needed to make bruschetta pasta salad laid out on a white table.

How To Make Bruschetta Pasta Salad

This fresh tomato pasta recipe comes together in a heartbeat! Here’s how:

Step 1: Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Step 2: Mix the grape tomatoes, red onion, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooked and drained pasta.

step 1 of making cherry tomato pasta salad where all ingredients aside from the dressing are added to the bowl.

Step 3: Dress the pasta salad with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over the pasta salad ingredients with cherry tomatoes.

Step 4: Refrigerate the pasta salad for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.

Step 5: Serve and enjoy!

step 2 of making fresh tomato bruschetta pasta salad is tossing everything together to coat.

Optional Variations & Dietary Adaptations

As much as I’m legitimately obsessed with this garden-fresh tomato bruschetta pasta recipe, there are plenty of opportunities for you to make it your own. Here are just a few variations to consider:

  • Gluten-Free – Swap in your favorite GF pasta brand.
  • Vegan/Dairy-Free – Omit the parmesan cheese, or use your favorite vegan substitute.
  • Add Protein – Feel free to bulk up the pasta salad to change it from a summer side to the main dish. Bruschetta Chicken Pasta (using my Baked Pesto Chicken or Romano Crusted Chicken) or Shrimp Bruschetta Pasta (using Pan Seared Shrimp) are always winners in my book! Other great options include scallops, flaky white fish, or even grilled tofu for a vegan version.
  • Or Use Protein Pasta – You’re also welcome to up the protein content of this pasta salad by swapping in protein pasta like Banza or Goodles.

Expert Tips

  • Salt your pasta water! You only get one shot to add seasoning to the noodles themselves, so don’t miss it. I suggest tasting the water before adding the dry pasta — it should taste briny and well-seasoned.
  • Be efficient with your time. Once you set your pot of water on the burner to boil, get to work prepping your ingredients. This way, you’ll be able to finish the whole meal in just the amount of time it takes to cook your pasta!
  • If raw onions taste too sharp for you, give them a quick soak in cool water after chopping. Ten minutes will help leach out the sulfurous compounds, then you can drain them, pat them dry, and add more subdued onion flavor while still maintaining a delightful crunch.
  • Grate your own cheese. Not only is block-style parm cheaper by weight, but it’s also far superior in terms of consistency and meltability.
  • Don’t be seduced by sub-par ingredients. I fully understand the urge to save at the grocery store, but you’ll feel much more satisfied when you get the “real deal” ingredients. Leave the Kraft shakeable parmesan (which has literal wood pulp in it as a filler), fake balsamic vinegar, and low-quality olive oil at the store. (Here are some EVOO shopping tips to keep in mind.)
  • Don’t skip the chilling step. This gives all the flavors time to meld, resulting in a more cohesive and flavorful dish.
45 degree angle shot of a white serving bowl filled with bruschetta pasta salad.

Serving Suggestions

Bruschetta pasta salad is a fantastic option for those warm summer days when you’re craving something that’s both refreshing and packed with flavor. You can serve it as a vibrant side dish for a backyard barbecue or picnic, or even as a main course for a light and satisfying lunch or brunch

There are several options that complement the flavors of the garlicky, tomato-laden bruschetta pasta beautifully. I love to pair it with some grilled chicken or shrimp to add some lean protein that pairs perfectly with the zesty bruschetta sauce.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, some crusty bread or garlic knots are perfect to sop up all the juicy goodness and add a little bulk. Plus, who doesn’t love carbs on carbs?! You can also serve it with a side of mixed greens or a simple arugula salad to add some extra freshness to the meal.

Want to feast on Italian food al fresco? Consider serving this fresh tomato pasta salad alongside some classic antipasti like olives, cured meats, and cheeses to keep cooking to a minimum. Then, don’t forget a rich Italian no-cook dessert like Tiramisu to bring it full circle! 

closeup shot of pasta salad with bruschetta sauce in a white serving bowl and garnished with parmesan cheese.


What is bruschetta pasta? 

Bruschetta pasta is exactly what it sounds like — a delicious recipe that combines two of my favorite dishes, tomato bruschetta and pasta.

Technically the term “bruschetta” refers to the toasted bread component of the classic Italian snack or appetizer, but the tomato topping is what is more commonly associated with the word.

That tomato topping – tomatoes, parmesan cheese, fresh basil, garlic, etc –  is what is taken here and served with pasta shells, to create a flavorful chilled pasta salad. The typical carb of toasted, grilled bread is simply replaced with a different, yet just as delicious, option.

Italians may not approve of this combination of two of their popular cuisines, but I most certainly do! And once you try it out I think you will too.

What’s the difference between balsamic glaze vs. balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic glaze and balsamic vinegar are two very similar condiments that can be used interchangeably.  They are both often used in dressings or on top of salads!

Traditional balsamic vinegar is a vinegar originating from Modena, Italy with a dark color and intense flavor.  It is made from aged pressed grape juice! This juice is referred to as “grape must” and it is concentrated, fermented, and acidified.  Then aged for 12-25 years. 

Balsamic glaze is essentially reduced balsamic vinegar.  That is why it is also called balsamic reduction.

The two mainly differ in their consistency and sweetness! Balsamic glaze has a thick, syrupy consistency and a sweeter taste.  Balsamic vinegar is thinner, less sweet, and more often mixed right into a recipe. While its reduced counterpart is often a garnish!

Should I rinse my pasta for making fresh tomato pasta salad?

I think rinsing your pasta for this recipe is totally optional!

Many people say that the only time you should rinse pasta is if you are making a cold pasta salad, like this.  This is because the starch on the pasta, which is rinsed off, is what helps sauces stick to the noodle.

If you think rinsing your pasta even for a pasta salad is a major no-go then don’t do it! If you don’t mind, go ahead! It can provide multiple benefits, although you should be fine without them.  

Rinsing the pasta under water will stop the cooking process which prevents mushy pasta.  It also removes the starch mentioned above, which could help prevent any salad ingredients from sticking or clumping up.

It is also a great way to cool down your pasta for a chilled salad if you don’t want any ingredients to melt when combined with it.  Like the cheese!

closeup image showing cherry tomato pasta salad with multicolored tomatoes.

Related Recipes

Pasta Salad Recipes

Summer Recipes

Connect With Me!

If you make this pasta salad with bruschetta recipe any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.

closeup shot of bruschetta pasta salad garnished with fresh parmesan cheese and basil chiffonade.

Love this recipe? Leave a comment and a rating! I love to see and it helps me continue to develop delicious recipes for this blog.


Bruschetta Pasta Salad

If you’re looking for a light, bright, almost no-cook recipe for your next summer dinner, look no further than this delectable Bruschetta Pasta Salad recipe. Made with just 10 simple ingredients (like pasta shells, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar), this quick and easy fuss-free fresh tomato pasta will be on the table in just 40 minutes or less. It is colorful, flavorful, and delicious too … sure to be a total crowd pleaser!

  • Author: Kayla Berman
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 5 Servings 1x
  • Method: No Cook


  • 8 oz dry pasta
  • 3 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, high quality
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Next add the cooked and cooled pasta, grape tomatoes, red onion, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Combine all the ingredients thoroughly.  Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate the pasta salad for 30 minutes – 1 hour before serving.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: bruschetta pasta salad, pasta bruschetta salad, pasta salad with bruschetta

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  1. I want to forward this recipe but it looks like there are no options.
    Can you please help me?
    Much appreciated
    Hod Bless

  2. Capers are an added delight!

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