Fall harvest pasta salad gives the picnic classic a makeover full of the best autumnal flavors. This delicious pasta salad recipe bursts with pears, apples, cranberries and pumpkin seeds for a festive side dish for any fall occasion.
Who says pasta salad is a warm weather only food?
This fall harvest pasta salad is the perfect fall side dish for those crisp gorgeous golden afternoons.
Its festive pasta and blend of fall flavors will make this a hit at fall tailgates or picnics in the orchard.
This salad recipe is loaded with the flavors of fall! To make it you need:
- Pasta – I love this fun autumn shaped pasta. I can normally find it on Amazon or you can check TJ Maxx or HomeGoods. If you can’t find it, use other short pasta like penne, macaroni or rotini.
- Pears – Sliced thinly
- Apples – This uses both a sweet Honey Crisp and a tart Granny Smith.
- Dried Cranberries – dried cherries will also make a delicious alternative
- Pumpkin Seeds – the raw kind, not the cooked ones
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Poppy seeds
- Salt and pepper
How to Make
To make this, start by cooking your pasta according to the package directions.
Once it’s done, drain the water and then run the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process. Let all the excess water drain out.
While the pasta cooks, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl. Set it aside.
Once the pasta is finished cooking, drained and cool, toss the pasta together with fruit, pumpkin seeds and cranberries until evenly combined.
Then pour on the dressing and toss again.
When the dressing coats the salad evenly, add the feta.
Give the pasta salad another toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!
The pear and apples do tend to brown when stored.
Most of the time I will pre soak my sliced fruit in lemon water to prevent this, but it takes away from the sweetness you want to shine through in this recipe.
Instead, I suggest removing all sliced fruit when storing the leftovers and then adding new freshly sliced fruit when you’re ready to enjoy it again.
Then store the remaining pasta salad in sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I make this ahead of time?
I wouldn’t recommend mixing the whole thing up ahead of time.
The dressing doesn’t stay together well enough and if it separates and will leave a greasy feel on the pasta.
If you want to prep ahead, you can make the pasta ahead of time.
You could also prepare the dressing in a mason jar and refrigerate it overnight.
Then just before assembling the salad, give the dressing a good shake to combine, and then combine everything and serve per the instructions.
Tips and Tricks
- Toss the sliced fruit in lemon juice if you want to prevent browning.
- Not a fan of feta? You could substitute goat cheese or cheddar cheese to suit your taste. You could also omit the cheese totally.
- Add in grilled chicken for a complete meal.
Other Pasta Salad Recipes You Might Enjoy
This fall harvest pasta salad is a fun and delicious way to enjoy the summer classic dish when the weather starts to change.
Make it for your next picnic, gathering or tailgate and enjoy.
Looking for other pasta salad recipes? Try these:
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Fall Harvest Pasta Salad
For The Pasta Salad
- 1 16 oz pkg pasta
- 1 pear thinly sliced
- 1 honey crisp apple thinly sliced
- 1 granny smith apple thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
For The Vinaigrette Dressing
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Once done strain the pasta in a colander and run it under cold water to stop the cooking process. Gently stir as needed to cool all the pasta. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk all of the dressing ingredients until evenly combined. Set aside.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the feta cheese, to a a large mixing bowl. Toss them gently to evenly combine.
- Pour the dressing in and toss again until everything's well coated.
- Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly out over top of the pasta salad and serve.