Tomato, bean and basil pasta salad recipe

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This tomato, bean and basil pasta salad is a great alternative to sandwiches for lunch boxes and is also an excellent vegan buffet option if you’re hosting a party.

Tomato, bean and basil pasta salad
(Image credit: Future)
Preparation Time15 mins
Cooking Time10 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories500 Kcal25%
Saturated Fat1 g5%
Fat8 g11%
Carbohydrates80 g31%

Our tomato, bean and basil pasta salad takes 25 minutes to make and is ideal for meal prepping as it will improve in flavour after a couple of days. 

You can bulk this pasta salad with even more veggies and salad items if you like and feel free to customise it depending on your family’s favourites. Peppers, sweetcorn, and blanched broccoli florets are all great options. We’ve kept this plant-based but if you’re serving with some grilled fish, chicken, or steak it would stretch to serve six people. Look out for fun pasta shapes like alphabet letters, mini loops, or even your kids’ favourite cartoon characters to make them even more excited about dinner time.


  • 300g (10oz) orecchiette or other pasta shapes
  • 200g (7oz) fine green beans, cut into 2-3cm (3⁄4in-1in)pieces
  • 4 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or grated
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 25g pack fresh basil
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed




  1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling, lightly salted water according to the packet instructions, adding the green beans for the last 2 mins of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, stir together the tomatoes, garlic, red onion, olive oil and white wine vinegar, and season to taste. Reserve a few basil leaves to garnish, then shred the remainder and stir into the salsa.
  3. Cool the pasta and green beans under cold water, then drain very well. Add to the tomatoes with the cannellini beans and toss gently together. Before serving, scatter over a few extra basil leaves.

Top tips for making this  tomato, bean and basil pasta salad

If possible, use very ripe tomatoes here, as they will act as a dressing. You could use some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a little oil from the jar if tomatoes are not in season but you want maximum flavour results. 

What pasta is not recommended for pasta salads?

You don’t want anything too big for a pasta salad, so things like spaghetti, penne, or tagliatelle are best avoided. If that’s all you have, simply snap the long pasta shapes into smaller pieces before cooking, and roughly chop the penne after cooking. 

Should you let pasta cool before making pasta salad?

As soon as the pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse under cold water until completely cool. This halts the cooking process and stops the pasta from overcooking. 

Why does pasta salad taste better the next day?

If you leave the pasta salad overnight, the flavours have to infuse and intensify which makes it taste even better. 

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

“I love how colourful a pasta salad can be and that you can throw in whatever you need to use up. Sometimes I like to mix in a can of tuna or crumble in some feta but this recipe is delicious as it is too. Investing in some quality extra virgin olive oil is well worth the cost because it gives a much more superior flavour.”

If you’re hosting a party or big lunch for your family, make your food look even more appealing by presenting it in nice serveware. We love this deep dish from Oliver Bonas and it would be great for this pasta salad.

Tuya Blue Ceramic Serving Bowl Large - View at Oliver Bonas 

Tuya Blue Ceramic Serving Bowl Large - View at Oliver Bonas 

This would make a striking centrepiece and when you’re not using it to serve food, it would double up as a very pretty fruit bowl. It’s not suitable for the microwave or dishwasher due to the glaze, so take care when washing it up. 

For another budget-friendly meal, try our spaghetti with pesto and pine nuts. You might also like This Slimming World fruity pasta salad or our summer pasta recipes when the warmer weather comes.

Rose Fooks
Deputy Food Editor

Rose Fooks is Deputy Food Editor at Future Publishing, creating recipes, reviewing products and writing food features for a range of lifestyle and home titles including GoodTo and Woman&Home. Before joining the team, Rose obtained a Diplome de Patisserie and Culinary Management at London’s Le Cordon Bleu. Going on to work in professional kitchens at The Delaunay and Zedel.

With contributions from