I love cold salads with crunchy vegetables during the warm months, and I decided to put together a pasta salad featuring broccoli and my favorite homemade salad dressing.

Fresh broccoli is my favorite crunchy vegetable, so I decided to create my new favorite salad dressing using fresh broccoli.

The flavor and texture combination of this Broccoli Pasta Salad is a perfect combination of tangy homemade tomato vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, savory red onions, and creamy salty feta cheese.

I am really impressed with this salad.

If you are too, let’s discover this recipe with Apronese and treat the whole family.

Overhead of an oval serving tray full of broccoli pasta salad with black utensils in the side

Pasta Options

Using rotini pasta in this salad is perfect because it has all these twisty crevices that are great at grabbing on to the salad dressing, ensuring there is lots of flavor to the end of every bite.

However, if you do not care about gluten, you can definitely try something like penne, bowtie, or orecchiette.

I think the nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta would also be a great complement to these salad’s flavors as well.

Salad Dressing Options

In this recipe I have included a simple homemade tomato vinaigrette for you to try, but if you don’t like tomatoes then you could use another basic Italian dressing instead, or you could use something like a champagne vinaigrette instead. I recommend sticking with light and tangy dressings.

Is the Broccoli Raw??

There were quite a few people who were surprised when I posted my last salad recipe that included raw broccoli.

There was no way they would have believed that you would be able to eat raw broccoli. I did not want to disappoint anyone when I told them that this salad is made of raw broccoli.

Although raw broccoli is deliciously crunchy, its flavor is very different from that of cooked broccoli.

If you prefer cooked broccoli, I recommend using roasted broccoli in order to enhance the flavor of the salad even further.

Close up side view of broccoli pasta salad with tomato vinaigrette on a platter

Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

There is a tangy vinaigrette in this Broccoli Pasta Salad, which is complemented by crunchy sunflower seeds and creamy, salty feta which are all tossed together.

Author: Beth

Prep Time: 10 mins/ Cook Time: 15 mins/ Total Time: 25 mins

Servings: 4 (1.5 cups each)


Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar ($0.20)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil ($0.96)


  • 1/2 lb. rotini pasta ($0.38)
  • 1 lb. broccoli ($0.89)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds ($0.25)
  • 4 oz. feta ($1.65)


  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the tomato paste, the red wine vinegar, the basil, the garlic powder, the sugar, the salt, and the pepper in a bowl until smooth. Whisk in the olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, until each addition is completely incorporated. Set aside the vinaigrette for a moment and keep it in the fridge.
  • Rotini pasta should be cooked according to the instructions on the box, which is approximately 7-10 minutes of boiling time until tender. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it briefly with cool water to cool it off. Drain the pasta well.
  • The broccoli florets should be cut off the stems and roughly chopped into bite-size pieces while the pasta is cooking. Finely dice the red onion while the pasta is cooking, as well.
  • It is best to drain the pasta and then transfer it to a large bowl. You will need to add the chopped broccoli, red onion, sunflower seeds, feta cheese to the bowl. After the dressing has been dipped into the bowl, gently toss all of the ingredients together until they are evenly blended and everything is coated in the dressing. This salad can be served immediately or kept refrigerated until you are ready to eat.


Serving: 1.5 cups ・ Calories: 576.05 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 56.45 g ・ Protein: 16.78 g ・ Fat: 32.9 g ・ Sodium: 575.15 mg ・ Fiber: 6.38 g
The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer.


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Overhead of broccoli pasta salad on a platter with a bowl of sunflower seeds and broccoli florets on the side

Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette: How to Make It – Step by Step Photos

tomato paste, vinegar, and herbs in a bowl

To begin, make your tomato vinaigrette. To make this, whisk together one tablespoon of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1/2 tablespoons dried basil, 1/4 tablespoons of garlic powder, 1/4 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 tablespoons salt, and 1/4 tablespoons freshly cracked pepper.

One tablespoon oil being added to tomato paste mixture in the bowl

Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time, whisking well after each addition, until you have incorporated 6 tablespoons of oil. Set the dressing aside for later use.

Cooked rotini in a colander

The next step is to cook 1/2 pounds of rotini according to the package directions (boil 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is tender).

Drain the pasta in a colander. Rinse the pasta briefly to cool it, and then let it drain very well.

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

I suggest you chop approximately 1 pound of fresh broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces, and you don’t have to worry about the shape of the florets, just chop them until they are fairly small.

You will also need to dice about 12 cups of red onion finely.

Broccoli pasta salad ingredients in a bowl

It is recommended that you transfer the pasta to a bowl and add the chopped broccoli, diced red onion, 1 cup of unsalted sunflower seeds, and about 4 pounds of feta cheese once it has cooled.

Tomato vinaigrette being poured over the pasta salad ingredients

Add the tomato vinaigrette over the salad and let it sit for a minute.

Finished broccoli pasta salad in a bowl with a red spatula

Then gently toss everything together until everything is well combined and everything is coated with the dressing and ready to be eaten right away or refrigerated to enjoy later.

A salad as delicious as this, but also easy to make, why not make it together with Apronese and send it to friends, right? Remember to leave a comment to let everyone know more.