Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad for a Picnic!

Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations is hosting a virtual picnic! It’s a spin-off of the childhood favorite: the picnic game. Each blogger picks a letter and a corresponding dish to bring to the picnic.


I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing:

A: Almond Joy Pie by Marjie @ Modern Day Ozzie and Harriet 


B: Baked Beans by Kasha @ Grub and Stuff 

baked beans

C: Chocolate Cake by Janet @ Dying for Chocolate.

Chocolate Cake

D: Dutch Funnel Cake by Julie @ The Sporadic Cook

Dutch funnel cake

E: Easy Blender Chicken Pie by Juliana of Simple Recipes.

Easy Chicken Blender Pie

F: Five Bean Salad by Barbara @ Moveable Feasts 

5 Bean Salad for a picnic

G: Granola Bars from Stephanie of Fun Foods on a Budget.

Granola Bars

H: Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad, that’s me!

A picnic wouldn’t be complete without a pasta salad. This one is packed with over a cup of fresh herbs, two kinds of cheese, olives, red onion, sweet pickled cherry peppers, and grape tomatoes. I used fresh herbs right from my garden including two kinds of basil; regular and ‘Aussie’ sweet, lemon thyme and parsley. The cheeses include little cubed bites of Swiss and fresh grated Parmesan. I used a hot garlic vinaigrette to infuse flavor into the dressing, allowing it to cool before tossing with the salad. If possible make a day ahead to allow the flavors to develop.

The salad is fully customizable by using your own mix of herbs, your choice of cheese, olives and pasta shapes. A medium sized pasta works best like rotini, bow-ties or penne.

Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

Herb & Cheese Pasta Salad
(by Reeni, Vinaigrette adapted from Bobby Flay)

8 ounces pasta (like Barila Whole-grain Medium Shells)
6-8 ounces Swiss Cheese, 1/4-inch cubes
1 – 6 ounce can Black Olives, halved
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Pickled Sweet Cherry Peppers or Fresh Bell Pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Fresh Basil, cut into a chiffonade or chopped
1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, cut into a chiffonade or chopped
1/4 cup Fresh Sweet Aussie Basil, chopped
1/3 cup Fresh Lemon Thyme
1/2 cup Fresh Grated Parmesan
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper, to taste

For Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup Olive Oil
4 large cloves Garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

2. Meanwhile make the vinaigrette. In a small skillet or saute pan heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until the garlic becomes fragrant and just begins to turn color at the edges. Remove from heat, whisk in vinegar. Allow to cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In a large mixing bowl toss the Swiss cheese, olives, tomatoes, red onion, peppers and pasta together.

4. Add the herbs, Parmesan and cool vinaigrette. Toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving. Best made a day ahead of time.

Print Recipe

Herb and Cheese Pasta Salad

There’s still time to get in on the Picnic. Visit Louise to find out what letters are available. Hope to see you there!

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  1. Claudia says

    I love pasta salads packed with summer goodness – yours is perfect and it can jump into my picnic basket.

  2. BeadedTail says

    Those dishes are way better than what I'm used to having on picnics! Your pasta salad looks delicious and I think we have ingredients for that so I just might be making that tonight!Purrs to Moon!

  3. says

    Salads with pasta are great for picnic. Have you ever tried cold pasta alla putanesca? What a pity that here, in Poland, we do not organize picnics…or very rarely.Your pasta looks very tempting….all good to you.

  4. Swathi says

    I am coming to picnic with you Reeni,so that i can taste wonderful delicious dishes. Looks really nice.

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