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Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish! Beyond Bread copycat recipe.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

You’ve probably been there before: You’re at a deli and you order your lunch. That sandwich by default comes with a plain bag of potato chips – unless you’d like to have a cup of fruit, cole slaw, or pasta salad. Hoping against hope, you opt for the pasta salad.

When it arrives at your table, you’re disappointed. Again. 

It’s swimming in either watery mayonnaise or bottled Italian dressing. Regardless of the dressing, there are always mini dices of raw bell peppers and celery … just like every other deli pasta salad you’ve ever had.

And you wish you had stuck with the chips.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Yeah, I’ve been there too, more times than I care to admit. I mean, fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, shame on me, right? You’d think I’d know by now not to get the pasta salad at delis.

And indeed, I might have sworn off sandwich shop pasta salad forever, were it not for one standout exception to the rule: Beyond Bread, in Tucson, AZ.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

My favorite deli, which is unfortunately 2000 miles from where I currently live, is one of the few sandwich shops that doesn’t seem to treat their pasta salad as an afterthought.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Instead of the “standard” bell peppers and celery, the pasta salad is chock full of sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, corn, peas, green onions, and shredded parmesan cheese. And they dress it lightly in a simple vinaigrette rather than drowning it in either mayo or a grocery store Italian dressing. 

It’s worth the extra 50 cents when you’re at the deli and is so delicious I’ve made it myself on numerous occasions, even six years after moving back to the East coast.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

The restaurant as a whole has consistently stellar quality and a well-developed distinctive atmosphere. My dad and stepmom, visiting me one time when I was in college, did not care for Tucson as a whole (I know, crazy, right?!), but even they lit up when we went to Beyond Bread for lunch and said if they lived in Tucson they would be regular customers.

I think it was the highlight of their trip.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

In honor of our recent trip to Arizona, I bring to you today my own copycat recipe, which I made about a week before our trip. Upon comparing it to the original sun-dried tomato pasta salad at the actual restaurant, I’d have to say it’s extremely close (if not a little better, according to Mike). 

I was even able to use some fresh basil from my garden. It’s so satisfying getting to cook with the things I’ve grown.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Rather than elbows or rotini, their pasta salad uses orecchiette pasta (orecchiette, pronounced or-ray-KYET-tay, means “little ear” and that’s what the shape resembles ). It’s a little thing, but I like that it uses a unique pasta shape. I feel like it makes it even more apparent that this is not your average pasta salad.

I used to have some trouble finding orecchiette pasta — it was packaged in bags rather than boxes in the “gourmet” section of the pasta aisle — but our grocery store has recently started carrying more unique shapes of pasta. If you can’t find orecchiette, I’d probably go for bowties in this salad. Or, you can head over to my friend David’s blog Cocoa and Lavender for a tutorial and video on making your own orecchiette

It would actually be perfect to use David’s tutorial since he lives in Tucson, where this pasta salad originates. We got to meet up with him and have cocktails last week during our visit! Super cool.

Caroline from Pinch Me, I'm Eating! and David Scott Allen of Cocoa and Lavender

While our default sandwich side dish at home is this lemon broccoli salad — I have two bags of broccoli in the fridge right now! — sometimes I feel like making something a little more exciting, and this is a reliably delicious and flavorful pasta salad. This time we even added some diced chicken and had it as a light dinner. 

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Next time you’re looking for a side dish for your sandwiches or cookouts or need something to bring to a potluck, check this one out! You won’t regret it. Yum!

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Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 side dish servings
Author: Caroline Lindsey
Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ.
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz dried orecchiette pasta use bowties if you can't find orecchiette
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup corn canned or frozen
  • 8.5 oz jar of julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil oil drained and reserved
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (you can use up to 1/2 cup, but that's what I had available in my garden at the time)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Reserved oil from sun-dried tomato jar about 1/4 cup

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Combine dressing ingredients and mix well to combine.
  3. Toss all pasta salad ingredients together, then drizzle on the dressing and toss to combine.
  4. Eat lukewarm or chill before serving.

Recipe Notes

Using the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes makes is great because it's infused with flavor!

Serves 6 as a side dish or 4 as a meal.

Full of fresh basil and veggies, this lightly dressed sun-dried tomato pasta salad is a refreshing and flavorful side dish for sandwiches, a potluck, or a light lunch! Copycat recipe from Beyond Bread in Tucson, AZ. | www.pinchmeimeating.com

 

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    David
    June 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    I see now what I can’t have this at Beyond Bread – the garlic! But I can make it at home now without the garlic thanks to you, Caroline! Glad you are home safe and sound!

    • Reply
      Caroline Lindsey
      June 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      I’m not sure if they do use garlic in their actual recipe – you may want to ask them just in case! Glad you can make it at home though, it’s just as good!

  • Reply
    David
    June 18, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    And, bug duh, I forgot to thank you for the shout out! It was so much fun to meet you, and I can’t wait to cook together. Maybe we should make homemade pasta together next time?

    • Reply
      Caroline Lindsey
      June 18, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Homemade pasta sounds wonderful! We had a great time meeting you in person too! Such a small world.

  • Reply
    Morgan Fields
    June 21, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    This looks great and your pictures are beautiful! Can’t wait to try.

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    June 22, 2016 at 12:02 am

    This looks fantastic! I love getting inspiration from favorite restaurant meals.

    • Reply
      Caroline Lindsey
      June 22, 2016 at 4:02 am

      Thanks, Alyssa! Restaurants are a great source of inspiration for sure!

  • Reply
    Karly
    July 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Talk about DELISH!? This looks SO good, and I love that it’s a little different from the usual cold pasta salad. I must try this soon!

    • Reply
      Caroline Lindsey
      July 4, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Thanks, Karly! I’ve never met a pasta salad like it, and it is one of my favorites!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    July 8, 2016 at 1:44 am

    What a perfect way to have a healthy pasta salad in the summer! Always looking for something to cook up the day ahead so I don’t need to heat up my kitchen during the day!

    • Reply
      Caroline Lindsey
      July 9, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Thanks, Michelle! This is definitely a great recipe for that – plus if you cook it in advance then all the flavors get an extra chance to meld together!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    November 8, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    I’ve made this for a few events, including a picnic on the Fourth of July and a recent dinner for 26 people. It is always a hit and we love having leftovers, too! I like to chop up the sun-dried tomatoes small, which takes a few minutes, but otherwise I make it just as you describe. Last time I made this Julie W. chopped three jars of tomatoes for me!

    • Reply
      Caroline Lindsey
      November 9, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Yay, I’m so glad you like this recipe! It’s one of my favorites too, and the leftovers never last long enough!

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