Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

When it’s treacherously hot, slaving over the stove or grill to put a meal on the table is the last  thing anyone wants to do.

That’s where the quintessential summertime favorite known as pasta salad enters the equation.

There’s something appealing about having a giant bowl of cold pasta salad sitting in your refrigerator. It can save the day.  If you throw one together for lunch, then dinner is easily taken care of too.

Pasta salads were made for fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. Not only is pasta the perfect vehicle for them, they enhance their cooling and refreshing qualities.

Versatile and adaptable, you can literally toss in whatever you like or have on hand.

Sometimes, what sounds like the oddest of combinations will make the best salad.

Case in point, this pasta salad.  Packed with flaked salmon, purple grapes, peaches, scallions, green bell peppers, grape tomatoes and almonds in a poppy seed dressing, it has a wide and unexpected range of ingredients that work surprisingly well together.

You can use the opportunity to clean out those excess boxes of pasta floating around clogging up the cupboard. You know, the ones with only a bit of pasta left in the bottom that you can’t bear to throw out,  but isn’t enough to make anything with? Yes, those. I used both gemelli and whole-grain rotini in mine.

You can substitute apples for the peaches and tuna, chicken or shrimp for the salmon.

Poppy Seed Pasta Salad

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Poppy Seed Pasta Salad


8 ounces rotini or gemelli pasta
2 peaches or apples, peeled, diced
12 ounces canned salmon, drained and flaked
1 cup grape tomatoes, if large cut in half
1 cup purple grapes, cut in half
5 scallions, diced
1/3 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper


  1. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Meanwhile, add the rest of the salad ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together all the dressing ingredients.
  3. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water until cooled. Add to bowl along with dressing and toss well. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Chill for an hour or longer. Toss again before serving.

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