Fall Harvest Pasta Salad Recipe

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This fall harvest pasta salad is perfect for the fall and winter seasons. It can be prepared several hours ahead of time. With feta cheese and vegetables, it’s a hearty, delicious pasta salad you’ll make again and again.

This fall pasta salad is great for chilly nights in with the family. It can be enjoyed as a side dish or a main course. If you opt for the latter, you can chop up some meat like chicken and toss it in, if you wish. It’s a pretty versatile salad that gives you plenty of fall flavors.

An overhead view of a wooden bowl filled with Fall Harvest Pasta Salad.

What Is Fall Harvest Pasta Salad?

Simply put, it’s a pasta salad that focuses on fall vegetables. Things like sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Can I Use Different Vegetables?

You can, yes. Try substituting the sweet potatoes for butternut squash instead, for example. Honeynut squash is also a great option here. You can substitute or add additional squashes or vegetables as you like.

Try adding any of the following, either in addition to what’s already called for in the recipe, or as a substitute for a veggie you don’t like.

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Red onions
  • Corn

What Else Can I Add To This Pasta Salad?

You can try adding any of the following:

  1. Garlic powder
  2. Pesto
  3. Goat cheese instead of feta
  4. Pears
  5. Parmesan cheese instead of feta

Meal Prep Tips

If you want to prep this ahead of time, you can do any of the following:

  1. Cook your pasta ahead of time, rinse it well, and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days until you are ready to use it.
  2. Purchase your veggies already cut and prepped. They do cost a bit more, but sometimes, the convenience is totally worth it.
  3. Roast the veggies ahead of time. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days before you assemble the salad.
A side view of a fork lifting a bite of Fall Harvest Pasta Salad out of a wooden bowl.

Can I Use A Different Dressing For Fall Harvest Pasta Salad?

You can, but I highly recommend the dressing in the recipe. The choice is yours, of course.

What Pasta Shape Is Best For This Fall Harvest Pasta Salad?

You can use any type of pasta you like. But some will work better for this hearty pasta salad than others, particularly short pasta. Try any of the following:

  • Penne
  • Rotini
  • Orzo
  • Macaroni (elbow noodles)

Recipe Tips For Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

  1. Make sure you cook your pasta in well-salted water. This helps tremendously with the overall flavor of the finished dish. Seasoning your food “in layers” as you cook is the way to go for truly delicious food.
  2. To intensify the crunch factor, lightly toast the walnut pieces before adding them to the salad. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 350 F. for about 5-7 minutes or until they turn slightly golden and aromatic. Let them cool before adding them to the salad to maintain their crunchiness. Do not over-roast these. Watch them carefully.

Roasting Your Veggies For Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

Make sure your veggies are cut into equal sizes. If they are all different sizes, they won’t roast evenly. You can even go so far as to roast the Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes on separate sheet pans if you wish. Totally your choice.

Make sure to properly season your veggies before roasting. You don’t have to go overboard on the salt, but. a little bit will bring out great flavors.

Make sure you stir the veggies once or twice during roasting. This will help ensure that all sides of the veggies get roasted and that nothing will burn.

Keep an eye on your veggies as they roast, particularly towards the end of the baking time. If you see pieces that are burning rather than roasting, chances are they are smaller pieces than the rest. You should go ahead and pull those out before they become inedible.

Lastly, every oven is different. Roast the veggies until they reach the consistency you like best. The roasting time in the recipe is just a suggestion based on the recipe made in my oven. Your oven may need more or less time to properly roast everything.

What To Serve With Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

This pasta salad would be great served with many types of chicken recipes, especially chicken breast. Salmon and pork chops are also good options. Adding a green salad on the side will give you more veggies.

A fork lifts a bite of fall harvest pasta salad out of a wooden bowl.

About The Ingredients

Pasta

Sweet potatoes – Peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes. In many stores, you can purchase them already cut this way.

Brussels sprouts – Halved or quartered.

Oil – For this portion of the recipe, you can use any oil you are comfortable using. However, you’ll want to keep smoke points in mind. I find that avocado or coconut oil works best for this.

Whole-grain pasta – Use the pasta you are most comfortable with. Any pasta will work, But try using shapes that will give this salad a good texture. Suggestions above.

Walnut pieces – Buy pieces or get larger nuts and coarsely chop them yourself.

Cranberries – Fruit juice sweetened. These aren’t overly simple to find. I get mine at Whole Foods, and I’m pretty sure Amazon has them, too.

Feta cheese – Crumble it yourself or purchase it already crumbled. You can use cow feta, goat feta, sheep feta, or a combination of any of those. I find that the best flavor comes from a combination of goat and sheep feta, but pick what you like best.

Salt and black pepper

Poppy Seed Dressing

Mayonnaise – No sugar added. I get mine at Trader Joe’s. Many natural food stores will have no sugar mayo. You can even make your own mayo.

Olive oil – While you can use any oil for this, this is a great opportunity to use hearty-healthy olive oil. You aren’t cooking it, so you don’t have to worry about smoke points here.

Apple cider vinegar – I get the kind “with the mother, ” but you can use what you have on hand.

Honey – Any type you prefer.

Dijon mustard – It’s best to check and make sure there is no added sugar. You never know these days.

Poppy seeds

Salt

Onion powder – Or onion granules.

How To Make Harvest Pasta Salad

All the Fall Harvest Pasta Salad Recipe ingredients gathered together in a large wood bowl.

Gather all your ingredients and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Sweet potatoes cut into half-inch cubes.

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into half-inch pieces and the Brussels sprouts in half or quarters.

Pouring oil over vegetables on a sheet pan.
Roasted vegetables on a sheet pan after roasting.

Place the sweet potato pieces and Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and stir until well covered. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Pasta being rinsed in a fine mesh sieve after cooking.

While the potatoes and Brussels sprouts are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, allow it to cool, and add it to a large bowl. Set aside. 

Adding poppy seeds to a small bowl of dressing.
A wooden spoon lifts up some dressing out of a bowl.

While the pasta is cooling, add the poppy seed dressing ingredients to a small bowl and mix until well blended. 

The salad ingredients all sitting together in a wood mixing bowl.

To the bowl of pasta, add the roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and cashews.

Pouring dressing over the top of the Fall Harvest Pasta Salad.

Toss with the poppy seed dressing until evenly coated. Crumble in the feta cheese and gently stir again until combined.

An overhead view of a Fall Harvest Pasta Salad, ready to eat, still sitting in a mixing bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

A side view of a wooden spoon lifting up some Fall Harvest Pasta Salad our of a mixing bowl.

Stir before serving, adding more dressing if needed.

How Long Does Fall Harvest Pasta Salad Last In The Fridge?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

Freezing

Freezing is not recommended for this recipe.

Reheating

This recipe doesn’t require heating. If you don’t want to eat it cold, simply set it out on the counter for a while before you eat it to bring it back to room temperature.

More Cozy Pasta Recipes For The “Berrr” Months

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An overhead view of a wooden bowl filled with Fall Harvest Pasta Salad.

Harvest Pasta Salad Recipe For Fall And Winter

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Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 431kcal

Ingredients

Pasta

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (Peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes)
  • 1 cup brussels sprouts (Halved or quartered)
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 lb. whole-grain pasta
  • ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (fruit juice sweetened)
  • 4 oz. feta cheese (crumbled)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Poppy Seed Dressing

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (no sugar added)
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. onion powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the sweet potato pieces and Brussels sprouts on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and stir until well covered. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • While the potatoes and Brussel sprouts are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, allow it to cool, and add it to a large bowl. Set aside. 
  • While the pasta is cooling, add the poppy seed dressing ingredients to a small bowl and mix until well blended. 
  • To the bowl of pasta, add the roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, and cashews. Toss with the poppy seed dressing until evenly coated. Crumble in the feta cheese and gently stir again until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Stir before serving, adding more dressing if needed.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 431kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 331mg | Potassium: 413mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 9738IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 3mg

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