roasted red pepper pasta salad with peas and beans

I had my doubts about this salad the whole time I was shopping for it, making it, testing it for seasoning, and serving it. But now, weeks later, my doubts are gone and I want some more. Except with better peas.

Most of the doubts came from an unsuccessful shopping trip for ingredients. Sometimes I complain after shopping at my regular grocery store, but in truth, I usually get by just fine with what I can find there. However, it is a 7-minute drive from my house. Walmart, while not my favorite place on earth, is a 2-minute drive. I tried to cut corners, and I paid the price. Walmart didn’t have whole wheat pasta, any sort of fresh pea or bean, frozen petite peas (which are sweeter and less starchy than regular peas), or shallots.

So, yes, frozen petite peas would be better than the larger starchy ones, and fresh peas are so fun, and I would love some sort of fresh beans, and yellow beans would add a nice contrasting color. But one change I was forced to make, skipping the shallots, actually worked out better I think, with some lightly pickled red onions adding tartness to the salad instead.

And even at its simplest, this salad is unique and interesting, with smoky sweet roasted red pepper dressing coating pasta, creamy white beans, and crisp vegetables. Plus I learned a valuable lesson about driving that extra five minutes to the regular grocery store, and how it’s worth every second.

One year ago: Sourdough Bagels
Two years ago: Danish Braids

Printer Friendly Recipe
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad with Peas and Beans (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Deb based this salad on one she had in a restaurant, which also included yellow string beans, fava beans, fresh cranberry beans, among other wonderful bean types that simply aren’t available in small desert towns. I would have loved any or all of those, but the salad was wonderful at its most simple as well.

1 pound small pasta
¼ red onion, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 ounces snow pea pods, ends trimmed, cut on an extreme diagonal
1 cup peas (from about 8 ounces with their shells, if you can find fresh)
1 (15-ounce) can great northern (or navy) beans, drained and rinsed
¾ to 1 cup Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette (recipe below)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook according to the package instructions. One minute before the pasta is done, add the peas. Drain the pasta and peas together.

2. Meanwhile, combine the onion, vinegar, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl; set aside for 10 minutes. When the pasta has cooled, add the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly. Taste and add more salt if necessary, which it probably will be.

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

Makes about one cup of dressing

1 red bell pepper, roasted, skinned and seeded or the equivalent from a jar, drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus up to 1 tablespoon more
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or vinegar if necessary.


  1. Thanks for simplifying this recipe! I know I saw it on Smitten Kitchen and dismissed it as too difficult to pull off with Argentine ingredients…seeing your version makes me think I could attempt it!

  2. I love roasting bell peppers – it makes them so sweet and delicious. Your pasta salad has such a lovely colour! Thanks for simplifying this recipe 😉


  3. Normally I’m ambivalent about pasta salads, but this one looks tasty. If it ever gets hot here (high of 63? what?) this may end up in my fridge. Thanks!

  4. Kristina says:

    I was going to do the usual pasta salad, but I’m glad you posted this recipe. It doesn’t look overwhelming. 🙂

  5. Your pictures are so beautiful and what a great summer BBQ side dish recipe. Thanks.

  6. Bummer about Walmart, but I guess it’s a lesson you had to learn. I love pastas like this for a vegetarian main dish. The red pepper sauce sounds especially good!

  7. Recently I was visiting friends and we went shopping to pick up some ingredients for dinner and they took me to Walmart. Well, it took me 25 minutes to find shallots. And that is why I don’t shop there by choice! This looks great by the way and it doesn’t appear your substitutions made any difference on taste or presentation!

  8. I’m really glad you posted about this. I had this bookmarked for a long time, but may have removed it from the list because I was unsure. I’ll have to try it soon!

  9. Wow, look at all those gorgeous ingredients! This is a beautiful and comforting pasta dish. Just lovely!

  10. This looks amazing!

  11. Jennifer C. Warren says:

    Pasta Salads with frozen or fresh vegetables are a delicious meal for the weekday.


    Jennifer C. Warren

  12. optishot says:

    Valuable info. Fortunate me I found your web site accidentally, and I’m shocked why this twist of fate didn’t came about in advance!

    I bookmarked it.