Pasta was one of my absolute favorite foods growing up. I ate it multiple times a week, usually with butter and a hefty helping of Parmesan cheese.

Today’s recipe is an upgrade to my childhood pasta meals.

I served it for the first time yesterday during a workshop I taught at my church about Summer Food Upgrades. It was a big hit!

You could serve it for lunch or dinner or take with you to a picnic or cookout. It’s super simple to make and will definitely be a crowd-pleaser.

Tomatoe Basil Salad

I made it gluten-free by using brown rice pasta and dairy-free by using this paleo Parmesan cheeze.

I used cannellini beans to boost the fiber and protein, which help keep us feeling full, and added some diced tomatoes and fresh basil for a pop of color.

By making your own (simple!) dressing you’re also avoiding all of the extra gunk that tends to be in bottled salad dressings.

This dish is an all-around upgrade to the traditional pasta salad and tastes great, too!

pasta salad

Servings: 8


  • 1 pound rotini brown rice pasta (we use Tinkyada)
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (we like the brand Eden)
  • 2 cups grape¬†tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves,¬†thinly sliced like this
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: 1 medium zucchini spiralized


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, and rinse under cold water; drain and put into a serving bowl. Add beans, tomatoes, and basil.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Pour over pasta, and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Take out 15 minutes before serving to allow to come to room temperature or keep it cold. Your choice!
  3. Sprinkle with this paleo Parmesan cheeze. An optional step is to add some spiralized zucchini noodles for an extra veggie punch!