Pasta salads can be dull-tasting, but this pasta salad is quite the opposite. Roasting the vegetables intensifies their sweetness to perfection, and the delicious romesco sauce made with roasted pepper and almonds brings the whole dish together. There may seem to be a lot of ingredients, but the prep and cooking is easy, so this is really worth putting together.

6 servings

14 ingredients

30 min prep

  • 3 cups diced eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant)
  • 3 medium red peppers, deseeded
  • ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium shallot, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, kept in its peel
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 ounces whole-wheat fusilli
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3 tablespoons almonds
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 6 small fresh mozzarella balls halved, or half of 1 large ball, cut into a ½-inch dice

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, shallot, and garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender and well browned. When the vegetables are done, allow them to cool slightly. Set half of the peppers to one side for the dressing.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot full of water to a boil. Add the fusili. Cook for 3 minutes less than the package instructions, add in the spinach, and cook for 1 more minute. Drain well, drizzle with olive oil, and let cool at room temperature, turning every so often.
  4. To make the Romesco dressing, take the cooled roasted red peppers you set aside, and puree with the almonds, red wine vinegar, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Taste for seasonings.
  5. Toss the cooled pasta, spinach and the roasted vegetables with the dressing. Stir in the fresh mozzarella. Eat at room temperature or cover and keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Chef Tips

If you are on a low-fiber diet, you can lessen the amount of fiber in this salad by using 8 ounces of white pasta instead of 6 ounces of whole-wheat and by lowering the amount of eggplant from 3 cups to 2 cups.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 463; Fat: 28g; Saturated Fat: 10g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 14g; Carbohydrates: 33g; Sugar: 7g; Fiber: 5g; Protein: 21g; Sodium: 576mg

Registered Dietitian Approved

Your recipes, articles, videos, and more content are reviewed by our Registered Dietitian Kate Ueland, MS, RD, CSO, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and follows the guidelines set by the Oncology Nutrition for Clinical Practice, 2nd Ed., published by the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group, a professional interest group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Society.

This recipe was originally published on Cook for Your Life. It is used by permission.

Fred Hutch Cook For Your Life logo TM