Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

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Move over summer salads! This Fall Harvest Pasta Salad is here to steal the show. This fall pasta salad blends all the flavors of fall into one epic and easy fall entertaining recipe. With pasta, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, goat cheese, and more, you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it sooner.

large bowl of fall pasta salad on yellow napkin.
bowl of fall pasta salad on a table set for fall.

I love a pasta salad recipe, and this Fall Harvest Pasta Salad stands head and shoulders above the rest, uniquely combining a medley of autumnal flavors and textures that you simply won’t find in any other recipe, making every bite a celebration of the season.

Channeling my inner Elle Woods, I’d like to say that, “Whoever said pasta salad was just for summer was seriously disturbed.” With roasted sweet potatoes, pine nuts, dried cranberries, broccoli, and goat cheese, this salad has quickly become a new fall favorite at my house. After whipping it up last week, I found myself snacking on it for three days in a row. I was sad when it was gone.

This pasta salad would pair perfectly with my apple cider sangria, apple and celeriac soup, of this puff pastry ham sandwich.

up close photo of fall harvest pasta salad in a bowl.
fall pasta salad in a big white bowl on a table.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Seasonal Flavors: This Fall Harvest Pasta Salad brings together the heartwarming tastes of autumn. The sweetness of roasted sweet potatoes, the tartness of dried cranberries, and the creaminess of goat cheese, all blend seamlessly with the heartiness of pasta.
  • Perfect for Entertaining: Be it a potluck, family dinner, or Thanksgiving get-together, this pasta salad is a surefire hit that will stand out on any festive table.
  • Easy and Quick: With straightforward ingredients and simple steps, whipping up this dish is a breeze, even for those last-minute dinner plans.
  • Versatile Side Dish: While it perfectly complements roasted meats and warm soups, this salad can also shine as a main dish for a lighter meal or lunch.
colorful fall pasta salad in a big bowl.

Ingredients

It’s time to assemble this fall pasta salad. Are you ready? Let’s gather together the ingredients first. Here’s what you will need:

  • pasta (I used cellentani / cavatappi pasta)
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • dried cranberries
  • pine nuts
  • red onion
  • goat cheese
  • poppy seed dressing
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

With you’re ingredients assembled, it’s time to put it all together.

colorful pasta salad in a white bowl.

How to Make

It’s time to assemble. (Don’t worry, it’s really easy!) Follow the simple instructions below to prepare this Fall Harvest Pasta Salad. I’ve also provided a full ingredient list and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the sweet potato pieces on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and then toss. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. You’ll want the pasta to be al dente. Drain the pasta, allow it to cool, and place it in a large bowl.
tri-colored pasta salad in a metal strainer.
  1. To the bowl of pasta, add the roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, dried cranberries, pine nuts, and red onions. Toss with the poppy seed dressing until evenly coated. Crumble in the goat cheese and gently stir again until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
unmixed ingredients for fall pasta salad in a bowl.
  1. Stir before serving, adding more dressing if needed.

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That’s all! So easy. So delicious Every ingredient tells a story of fall, every bite a celebration. A must-try pasta salad recipe!

top down photo of fall harvest pasta salad in a bowl.

Recipe Notes

  • Pasta Choices: My inspiration for this fall pasta salad was this bag of colorful pasta from HomeGoods. The variety of colors made me think of autumn. I also love this type of pasta, known as Cellentani (corkscrew), because the curls and hollow centers hold lots of yummy sauce. However, feel free to use any pasta shape you have on hand. Fusilli or bow ties (farfalle) are especially great for holding onto that delicious poppy seed dressing.
  • Poppy Seed Dressing: For the dressing, I opted for a store-bought poppy seed. You can use your favorite brand or mix up a homemade poppy seed dressing. With its slightly creamy quality, this dressing worked extremely well and tasted delicious.
bottle of poppy seed dressing with fall pasta salad in the background.
  • Sweet Potatoes: For a richer flavor, you can roast the sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg. This brings out a deeper autumnal aroma.
  • Nut Allergies: If someone in your party has a nut allergy, you can omit the pine nuts or replace them with roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for a similar crunch.
  • Goat Cheese: Even if you’re skeptical of goat cheese, give it a try in this recipe. I think you’ll quickly become a fan.Speaking of goat cheese, since it’s a softer cheese, you’ll want to mix it in last to keep the crumbles intact.
up close of goat cheese on a fall pasta salad.
  • Serving: If serving at an outdoor event in cooler autumn weather, this pasta salad can safely remain out for longer than traditional mayo-based salads, making it a great choice for picnics and alfresco dining.
  • Storage: This salad tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If it gets a bit dry, drizzle with some olive oil or a bit more dressing before serving.
Colorful pasta salad with fall ingredients in a bowl.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this pasta salad ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, making it a few hours ahead allows the flavors to meld together. Just give it a good toss before serving, and you might need to add a splash of dressing if it dries out a bit.

I’m not a fan of pine nuts; what else can I use?

Roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, or slivered almonds can be a delicious substitute, adding a slightly different but pleasant crunch.

Can I use a different type of cheese?

Certainly! Feta or crumbled blue cheese could be good alternatives, though they will change the flavor profile slightly.

How long will this pasta salad keep in the fridge?

Stored in an airtight container, this salad should stay fresh for up to 3-4 days. It’s best enjoyed within the first 2 days for optimal freshness.

single serving of pasta salad in a yellow bowl.

This fall pasta salad is pretty straightforward but loaded with flavor. It’s one of those simple and classic recipes we come to love and go back to time and again.

I hope you’ll give this salad a try this fall. If you do, please leave a comment and a 5-star rating below. 

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Fall Harvest Pasta Salad #fall #pasta #salad #pastasald #side #appetizer #recipe

Fall Harvest Pasta Salad

This Fall Harvest Pasta Salad combines all the flavors of fall for one epic and easy fall entertaining recipe.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fall, pasta salad, poppy seed dressing
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 416kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound multi-colored pasta
  • 3 cups broccoli chopped (about 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cup poppy seed dressing
  • 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled

Instructions

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Place the sweet potato pieces on a large baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and then toss. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. You’ll want the pasta to be al dente. Drain the pasta, allow it to cool, and place it in a large bowl.
  • To the bowl of pasta, add the roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, dried cranberries, pine nuts, and red onions. Toss with the poppy seed dressing until evenly coated. Crumble in the goat cheese and gently stir again until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Stir before serving, adding more dressing if needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 1081mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 7063IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




38 Comments

  1. Do you have any recommendations on an alternate dressing? The people I’m making it for can’t have poppyseed but I love this salad and want to share it!

  2. I just made this recipe. It is absolutely DELICIOUS!

    I substituted the pine nuts with candied pecan peices and added real bacon bits.

    I’m taking it to a Halloween party. I can’t wait for everyone to try it.

    Yummy!