Recipe Review

Ina Garten Just Taught Me the Secret to the Best-Ever Pasta Salad

published Jun 3, 2021
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

When I was growing up, Ina Garten could do no wrong in my house. My mom had every one of her cookbooks and used them frequently, and the recipes always yielded perfect results. Since then, my love of Ina has only grown — and when it comes to her pasta salad, it looks like I’m not alone. Ina’s recipe has hundreds of five-star reviews with multiple people declaring it’s the best they’ve ever had.

Disclaimer: I don’t love sun-dried tomatoes, and this recipe uses a lot of them. I had to see if Ina could be the one to change my mind, and if this really is the best pasta salad recipe out there. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

How to Make Ina Garten’s Perfect Pasta Salad

Cook the pasta according to package instructions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta in a colander and let cool to room temperature. Then, add the pasta to a large bowl with the tomatoes, olives, feta, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Make the dressing by adding the whole sun-dried tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor along with the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper, and pulse until smooth. Pour the dressing over the bowl of pasta, add the Parmesan and parsley, and toss to combine. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

My Honest Review of Ina Garten’s Pasta Salad

You know what I said about sun-dried tomatoes? I take it back. I should have known if anyone could convert me to being a sun-dried tomato fan, it would be Ina. This is the best pasta salad I’ve ever had. I honestly didn’t know pasta salad could be this good.

Ina calls for using a half pound of pasta here, so the amount of pasta is equal to the amount of add-ins, which turns out is crucial in a good pasta salad. This pasta salad is really all about flavor. The sun-dried tomatoes paired with the salty feta add an umami flavor throughout the salad which makes you keep coming back for more. Before serving, you add a showering of Parm and parsley to round the whole thing out. I’ll be making this on repeat all summer long. 

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

If You’re Making Ina Garten’s Pasta Salad, a Few Tips

  • Use a mini food processor. If you have one, use a mini instead of a standard food processor. There isn’t enough liquid to properly emulsify if you’re using the larger size. 
  • Double it. If you’re bringing this dish to a potluck, double it. It’s so good that you’re guaranteed to run out quickly. 

Overall rating: 10/10

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

Have you ever tried Ina Garten’s pasta salad? Let us know in the comments!