Garden Pasta Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dressing

July 17th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

gluten-free, dairy-free pasta salad

There are some things I rarely crave on my gluten- and dairy-free diet. Pasta is one of them. I tell people that and they think I’m nuts. You never crave pasta?! Are you crazy?

Nope, I’m not crazy. I think it’s because I’ve found so many other things to love that I just never give pasta a second thought anymore. I’d rather have another bowl of power salad or apple chips than a big bowl of pasta.

So why this recipe? Because summer is just not right without at least one pasta salad thrown in the mix. In my family, we never ate pasta salad or potato salad during the year except for once or twice in the summer months. Honestly, when it’s so hot that the backs of my legs stick to the dining room chair even in the AC, I just don’t feel like fancy food. Hearty salads are an easy, budget-friendly choice. Load up on fresh veggies from your farmers’ market to keep things inexpensive and locally produced.

For all of you heading to the beach or the pool for get-togethers with family and friends, you’ve got to have a good pasta salad recipe in your arsenal that you can serve knowing it’s a little healthier and allergy-friendly, too.

gluten-free, dairy-free pasta salad

Horseradish adds a little kick to the dressing. I use my homemade horseradish that I told you about in last week’s photo tutorial. If you’d rather skip the kick, simply leave it out. If you’re craving more heat, bump it up! I’ve found that horseradish roots can vary in nose-tingling intensity, so sometimes my condiment is less spicy than others. My rule of thumb is to start small and work my way up.

You might look at the ingredients in this salad, see flaxseed, and think huh? Trust me. You won’t even know it’s there. You’re secretly adding a little fiber and healthy lignans. If you don’t mind a few more specks in your salad, feel free to add more flaxseed. Two teaspoons will land you in the “beginner’s ballpark,” but I’ve used up to 2 tablespoons before in salads like this one.

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Garden Pasta Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dressing
Serves 4

Nothing says summer like a fresh pasta salad. This lightly dressed side dish pairs well with grilled fish or chicken. Make it a meal all on its own by tossing in a cooked protein such as chickpeas or shredded chicken breasts.

8 ounces gluten-free brown rice pasta, such as penne or fusilli
1 ½ cups finely chopped kale (stems removed and discarded)
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawed)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons canned coconut milk (full fat)
1-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Grade B maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Transfer to a large bowl and add the kale, cabbage, peas, tomatoes, and onion. Toss to coat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and flaxseed. Pour over the salad and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add additional horseradish if desired.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (or up to 1 day). Serve chilled.


  1. I love pasta salad, but not with mayonnaise. I usually add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for full flavor and creamy texture. The flaxseed meal will be interesting to try.

  2. Hallie, this salad sounds incredible!! I love your dressing idea. And you’re right–what’s summer without pasta salad? ;-)

  3. I love horseradish! I’ve just started using coconut milk as a thickener in dressings – no idea why I didn’t think of it before! The horseradish probably overpowers the coconut flavor nicely.

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I'm Hallie Klecker, a professional recipe developer, author, and passionate gluten-free foodie. As a certified holistic nutrition educator, my goal is to inspire others to live a balanced, nourished life through eating well and living pure—one bite at a time. Learn more.