Pasta salad with artichokes and spinach is downright delicious! In addition to marinated artichoke hearts and chopped spinach, this flavorful recipe features mozzarella pearls, shredded parmesan, pine nuts, beans, parsley, and a homemade Italian dressing. It’s a healthy, vegetarian main or side dish that’s bound to become your go-to pasta salad!
Guys, I’m so glad it’s pasta salad season! Ok, technically, you can eat pasta salad at any time of the year, but it hits different in the spring and summer. There’s just something about a cold salad on a hot day.
As you may have guessed by the name, pasta salad with artichokes is a spin on the dynamic duo of spinach artichoke. In addition to the title ingredients, there’s cheese (TWO kinds), fresh parsley, red onion, navy beans, and pine nuts. Everything is mixed together with bowtie pasta and coated with the most delicious Italian dressing. I’m hooked.
I wanted to bulk up the dish so that it could serve as a sufficient main course, so I packed a lot in there. As a result, this healthy recipe is a perfect addition to your lunch and dinner rotation. It’s easy to make in advance as part of meal prep too.
Of course, pasta salad is also a wonderful side dish. In fact, you should totally bookmark the recipe to make for your Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day cookouts this summer! If you’re looking for something different, check out the Asparagus Pasta Salad while you’re here!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta: I like to use bowtie (farfalle) pasta for pasta salads. You can substitute another short cut pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or rotini, if desired. If you need to make the recipe gluten-free and/or want to increase the protein, consider a legume-based pasta instead.
- Marinated artichoke hearts: You’ll need a 14-ounce jar of these. You can also use plain artichoke hearts canned in water or heart that you cut out of artichokes that you roasted or steamed on your own.
- Spinach: Arugula would also work in this salad but would provide more of a peppery bite.
- Red onion: Every pasta salad needs some onion, and I prefer to let the chopped red onion marinate in the dressing while I prepare the other ingredients. That way, it won’t have as much of a bite.
- Navy beans: I added a can of white beans to pasta salad with artichokes for a little extra protein and fiber. They taste great in there! I personally like the small size of navy beans, but you can substitute cannellini, great Northern, or garbanzo beans.
- Pine nuts: Omit if you need the recipe to be nut-free. You can also substitute sunflower seeds.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley is key to a good pasta salad, but you can use dried if needed. Substitute fresh basil if that’s what you have.
- Mozzarella pearls: If you can find tiny mozzarella balls, usually called pearls, at the store, use those! If you can only find bigger balls of mozzarella, just cut them into smaller pieces.
- Parmesan cheese: I like to grate a block of aged parmesan for this recipe, but you can of course use pre-shredded. If you need your pasta salad to be strictly vegetarian, look for parmesan cheese labeled as such, like the Whole Foods 365 brand.
- Extra virgin olive oil: My favorite brand is Partanna.
- Red wine vinegar: You can substitute white wine vinegar or lemon juice. Balsamic vinegar would also work but would have a slightly different flavor.
- Dried Italian spices: I use dried basil, oregano, and thyme. If you have Italian seasoning, just use 2 teaspoons of that in place of those.
The full recipe card for pasta salad with artichokes is at the bottom of the post. Here are some photos that show a preview of the steps for this recipe.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander in the sink and rinse well.
In the meantime, prepare the dressing. Whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and dried seasonings. Put the chopped red onion in the dressing to marinate while you make the rest of the recipe.
Gather and prepare the rest of the ingredients. Chop the parsley and spinach, and cut the artichoke hearts into bite-sized pieces. Grate the parmesan cheese.
Add the rinsed pasta and all of the other ingredients to a mixing bowl. Pour the dressing over everything. Stir until coated. You can enjoy the salad right away or put it in the fridge to chill for a while.
Pasta salad with artichokes will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. In fact, I recommend serving it cold after it’s been chilled for at least an hour. The flavors meld together and get stronger as it sits, so it’s a great recipe to make the night before you plan to serve it. Just don’t make it too far in advance (over 24 hours), and give it a good stir before enjoying!
Drain the pasta immediately after cooking and rinse it under cold running water. Rinsing the pasta cools it off and helps prevent it from sticking or getting gummy when you make the salad.
If you are planning to make pasta salad with artichokes the night before you serve it, you can add the dressing at that time. I intentionally made the recipe to have enough dressing to account for the pasta absorbing some of it as the salad sits. In my experience, it doesn’t dry out over time. However, this recipe works best if it’s made just a few hours before serving (and a max of 12 to 24 hours in advance). The ingredients should have enough time to marinate in the dressing without the pasta absorbing too much of the dressing.
More Artichoke Recipes
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Pasta Salad with Artichokes and Spinach
- 8 ounces bowtie pasta - about 3 cups dry
- 1 14-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts - drained and cut into bite-sized pieces, can sub hearts canned in water
- 2 cups chopped spinach
- 1 cup navy beans - can sub other white beans
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 8 ounces mozzarella pearls - or mozzarella cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
- Drain the pasta immediately after cooking. Rinse under cold running water to prevent sticking.
- While you wait for the water to boil and pasta to cook, prepare the dressing. In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the diced red onion to the dressing so that it can marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled and rinsed pasta, artichoke hearts, spinach, navy beans, parsley, pine nuts, mozzarella, and parmesan.
- Whisk the dressing again before pouring it over the salad in the mixing bowl. Stir well until everything is coated. It may seem like a lot of dressing at first, but this is intentional so that the pasta can absorb some of it without making the salad too dry.
- Store the salad in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 60 minutes before serving. You can also eat it right away, but I prefer it cold. Enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- Prep ahead tips: You can make this recipe a few hours in advance, seal the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer the salad to an airtight container, and chill it in the refrigerator. However, don’t make it more than 24 hours in advance. This recipe tastes best when the ingredients have enough time to marinate in the dressing without the pasta absorbing too much of the dressing and making it dry. Stir well before serving.
- Storage: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- If you need the recipe to be strictly vegetarian, use a shredded parmesan cheese labeled as vegetarian.
Enjoy! – Lizzie
This recipe was originally published in June 2019. The ingredients and recipe were updated in May 2023.