Skip to Content

Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Refreshing and simple gluten-free pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, peas, carrots, red onion, and homemade lemon poppy seed dressing – a super quick and delicious recipe for all your spring and summer gatherings.

Pasta salad. I have so much to say.

Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing | #glutenfree #healthy #recipe #summer

My first experiences with pasta salad were the out-of-the-box, just-add-mayo variety. Can you relate?

If so, I’m guessing you weren’t a savage fan of pasta salad as a child, either. 

Once upon a pasta salad, I was the naysayer of epic naysaying proportions.

I just couldn’t dig.

Like most of us experience when we’re tarnished by less-than-pleasurable food encounters from childhood, I didn’t enjoy pasta salad until I began making it myself.

At that point, I was all, “Duh. Of course pasta salad is good. It’s made out of pasta.”


The trick is intentionally making it un-disgusting. We can do that. We’re dope at these things.

Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing | #glutenfree #healthy #recipe #summer

My formula for delicious, refreshing healthy pasta salad recipes is simple!

I make them with gluten-free pasta noodles (that are made with brown rice flour) and a homemade vinaigrette, and plenty of fresh vegetables.

In this case, I went with a homemade lemon poppy seed dressing, cherry tomatoes, red onion, grated carrot, and green peas. This combination yields such a fresh and flavorful healthy pasta salad that leaves you feeling great!

There are plenty of ways you can change up the recipe to your heart’s delight, using various fresh or dried fruits, nuts or seeds, and various veggies.

In fact, you can have a look at my Kale Pesto Pasta Salad, Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad, or my Italian Pasta Salad for more delicious options.

Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing | #glutenfree #healthy #recipe #summer

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Add your favorite seasonal veggies, and/or make veggie substitutions as necessary
  • Throw in some sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or nut/seed of choice
  • Toss in some dried cranberries or raisins
  • Fan of feta or goat cheese? Stick it in!
  • Add kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and/or artichoke hearts for a Greek-style dish
  • Use store-bought poppy seed dressing to save yourself some prep time
  • Get creative with your own homemade dressing – a balsamic vinaigrette or honey Dijon would be fabulous here!
  • Use your favorite pasta shape – bow ties work marvelously!

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

Here’s that pasta salad recipe I’ve been telling you about:

Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing | #glutenfree #healthy #recipe #summer

Pasta Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Quick, fresh and easy gluten-free pasta salad recipe perfect for making in advance and packing up to take to barbecues and picnics!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
4 Servings


Pasta Salad:

  • 2 cups uncooked gluten-free pasta noodles of choice
  • 1 cup shelled peas, I used frozen
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup lemon poppy seed dressing, recipe below
  • sea salt to taste

Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive, grapeseed, or avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove large garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup*
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds


Prepare the Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:

  • Add all of the ingredients for the dressing to a small blender and blend until completely smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the Pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions (I typically cook mine a couple minutes less than specified on the package because I like my pasta al dente). Once cooked, strain pasta and run lukewarm water over it. Allow pasta to cool.
  • Add pasta and remaining ingredients for the salad to a large serving bowl. drizzle in 1/3 cup of the lemon poppy seed dressing (reserving the rest for future salads), and toss until everything is coated. Taste salad for flavor and add sea salt and/or more dressing to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


*You can replace the maple syrup with honey if you're fine with the recipe not being vegan.


Serving: 1Serving - Calories: 357kcal - Carbohydrates: 60g - Protein: 7g - Fat: 9g - Fiber: 4g - Sugar: 9g
Course: Side Dishes & Snacks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: gluten free pasta, healthy pasta salad, light pasta salad recipes, pasta salad with lemon poppy seed dressing, summer salad
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Julia

5 Healthy Ways to Eat Peas

As part of our monthly series, my healthy food blogging cohorts, Sarah, Lindsay, Arman, Kylie, Alexis, and I chose to bring you recipes that include peas. A.k.a. the veggie I used to squish with my pointer finger and hide under my bread when I was a kid but now adore with open arms. Peas and green beans are in season, super vibrant, and are available at your market either fresh or frozen. You can add them to any fresh home-cooked meal this Spring and Summer!

Here’s what the others brought to the table:

6 Delicious and Healthy Ways to eat Peas

Kale Power Salad from Making Thyme for Health – an easy go-to for an every day cleansing meal or side salad

Kale Power Salad + 6 Pea Recipes

Pea Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Hummus Dressing from The Lean Green Bean – the perfect healthy potato salad to bring to any picnic or barbecue

Pea Salad with Sweet Potatoes + 6 Pea Recipes

Healthy 1-Minute Brownie from The Big Man’s World – a delicious dessert-for-one you’d never know is healthy!

Healthy 1-Minute Brownie (with a secret ingredient)

Sauteed Sugat Snap Pea and Goat Cheese Naan Pizza from Imma Eat That – a majorly tasty pizza with seasonal veggies.

Sauteed Sugar Snap Pea & Goat Cheese Naan Pizza + 6 Healthy Ways to Eat Peas

Easy Vegan Lasagna from Hummusapien – an epic comforting dairy-free meal that is great for your bodacious bod

Easy Vegan Lasagna + 6 Healthy Ways to Eat Peas

And that’s it, folks! Eat your peas!

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

Thursday 26th of May 2016

This sounds like my kind of pasta salad! Gluten-freer and mayo-freer is the way to go. ;)

Also, I would have never thought to use a lemon poppy seed dressing in pasta salad but it's a genius idea. I need to try this soon!

Thalia @ butter and brioche

Thursday 26th of May 2016

oooh that dressing looks and sounds fabulous love poppy seed and lemon together.

Sarah | Well and Full

Thursday 26th of May 2016

Yesss a fellow no-mayo-er!! When you have a good enough dressing, you don't need mayo ;) And the lemon poppy seed dressing sounds perfect!

Medha @ Whisk & Shout

Thursday 26th of May 2016

That dressing sounds amazing! It's pasta salad season for sure :)

Abby @ Heart of a Baker

Thursday 26th of May 2016

I maybe just pinned this to my 'dinner' board because I for SURE want this for dinner! Yes to that dressing and those veggies, no to mayo! xo

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.